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■- 1         r 






























COPYRIGHT,    1918,   1922,    BY 










t5r4  •».7 



WHEN,  two  or  three  score  years  hence,  those 
critics  who  weave  their  wreaths  not  for  the 
brows  of  the  hving  but  for  the  tombs  of 
the  dead,  begin  to  study  minutely  the  works  of  Booth 
Tarkington,  as  inevitably  they  must,  I  fancy  they 
will  discover  that  his  "later  manner"  was  fore- 
shadowed in  the  political  stories  (resulting  from 
experience  in  the  State  Legislature  of  Indiana)  assem- 
bled and  published  as  a  book  in  1905,  under  the  title 
"In  the  Arena."  But  I  think  they  will  recognize 
the  manner  itself  as  beginning  with  the  novel  "The 
Flirt,"  issued  in  1913. 

Just  after  having  completed  it,  Tarkington  wrote 
to  a  friend: 

"The  FHrt"  is  about  as  long  as  "The  Conquest  of 
Canaan,"  but  it  doesn't  seem  so  because  it  is  centred 
and  concentrated.  Nothing  "happens"  till  the  close: 
it's  just  a  slowly  intensifying  "situation," 





The  most  successful  of  Tarkington's  earlier  novels 
had  been  romantic,  though  with  that  strange  two- 
handedness  which  has  always  characterized  him,  he 
had  written  the  satirical  burlesque  "Cherry,"  in 
which  he  made  game  of  those  heroes  of  fiction  who, 
obUged  by  an  author's  method  to  tell  of  their  own 
prowess,  cloak  their  boasting  with  a,  "So  my  lord 
was  pleased  to  say." 

But  to  return  to  the  main  line  of  progression: 
The  FUrt"  was  followed  by  "The  Turmoil,"  and 
The  Turmoil"  by  "The  Magnificent  Ambersons" 
— ^for  the  Lambskin  Library  edition  of  which  this 
introductory  note  is  compiled.  In  each  of  these 
three  novels  the  fundamental  change  in  the  manner 
of  the  author  is  increasingly  apparent.  From  a  skill- 
ful contriver  of  plots  and  a  purveyor  of  exquisite 
romance,  Tarkington  was  turning  more  and  more 
into  the  supreme  realist  whose  next  novel  was  to 
be  the  flawless   "Alice  Adams." 

During  the  war,  when  "The  Magnificent  Amber- 
sons"  was  nearing  completion  (1917),  the  author 
mentioned  it  in  a  letter  written  almost  telegraphic- 

Having  a  terribly  interrupted  winter — ^meetings 
and  even  speeches  (heaven  save  tne  mark!)     It's  no 


time  to  be  writing  a  novel  but  I  am,  somehow — dig- 
ging a  little  deeper  than  before,  but  the  action  is  so 
slow  that  there  appears  to  be  none  at  all,  and  people 
may  not  read  this  book.  I  shan't  blame  them.  It's 
my  usual  later  plan — ^a  slowly  intensifying  "situa- 
tion"— developed  a  little  further — the  "hero"  an 
overbearing  important-family-in-Midland-town  boy 
— ^begin  before  his  birth  and  combine  his  Ufe  with 
the  life  of  an  epoch  in  the  town's  life — ^the  town's 
change  is  the  juggernaut  that  goes  over  him — of 
^tturse  that's  not  all. 

"A  slowly  intensifying  *  situation'":  the  phrase 
uttered  in  1913  and  again  in  exactly  the  same  words 
five  years  later,  gives  us,  in  effect,  a  blue-print  of  the 
plan  dominating  Tarkington's  later  novels — ^which, 
while  fully  appreciating  the  romantic  beauty  of 
"Monsieur  Beaucaire"  and  "The  Gentleman  from 
Indiana,"  we  must,  if  we  have  true  appreciation,  pro- 
nounce incomparably  his  greater  novels. 

In  a  letter  to  a  less  successful  fellow  writer  he  sheds 
more  light  upon  that  "later  plan"  of  his: 

Don't  worry  about  plot,  or  your  alleged  "lack  of 
inventiveness."  What  you  mean  is  something  you 
oughtrCt  to  have.  The  characters  make  their  own 
plot — ^all  the  plot  there  should  be.  Think  of  them 
in  their  relation  to  one  another  and  they  will  make 
your  story.     Your  struggle  should  be  against  every- 


thing  extraneous.  It  is  unusual  poignancy  that 
makes  a  book  unusual,  not  unusual  plot. 

Treatment  is  the  big  show.  Forget,  when  you 
work,  about  any  result  but  the  art  result  to  you. 
Pick  your  reader:  the  best  reader  you  have  inside 
you:  then  make  him  a  p)erson  who  doesn't  know  your 
artist-self's  intentions.  Make  him  see  them.  Real- 
ize that  he  is  in  your  hands  and  play  with  his  imagina- 
tion. Startle  him,  amuse  him,  make  him  see  what 
you  see — make  him  feel  your  words — ^flush  him  with 
colours.  And  always  by  suggestion.  Make  him  tell 
the  story.  Use  closed  doors.  Make  him  act  for 
himself  the  scene  you  don't  teU  him.  Suggest — ^give 
him  a  smell,  that's  all. 

Hardy,  Meredith,  Daudet  and  Maupassant  weren't 
"inventive  of  plot."  Mark  Twain's  failures  are  the 
result  of  seeking  plot.  "The  American  Claimant" 
and  "Pudd'nhead  Wilson  ".don't  show  up  alongside 
"Huckleberry  Finn,"  "Life  on  the  Mississippi,"  and 
"Joan  of  Arc."  You  can  tell  the  plot  of  "The 
Egoist "  in  three  minutes. 

We  are  here— we  writers — to  discover  and  reveal 
things  about  hfe — ^and  we  seek  the  finest  nieans  of 
doing  so — the  most  vivid  means.  We  must  make 
our  words  into  colours  and  sounds — and  the  cheap 
old  tricks  and  phrases  won't  do  that.  You've  got 
to  get  living  words  out  of  yourself.  Nobody  else's 
words:  the  used  word  is  stale. 

And  again:  to  a  writer  in  the  middle  thirties: 

Work  ought  to  be  pretty  hard  for  you,  these  years 
— ^you  shouldn't  get  too  facile  at  your  age:  th^  later. 


iacility  comes  the  better  tools  you'll  graduate  with. 

I  owe  Will  Hodge  something  pretty  for  his  saying, 
"If  they  ever  catch  me  acting,  I'm  gone!" 

And  so  with  our  trade,  if  they  ever  catch  us  Writ- 
ing, weWe  gone! 

Think  of  that  and  read  a  poem  of .     The 

man  explodes  and  you've  got  left  a  little  Oxford  Don 
with  a  pen  in  his  hand  and  bookishness  in  his  head.  . 

"Lord,  how  that  man  can  write  ! "  ought  to  be  dur- 
ing apprenticeship.  I  think  it's  a  good  intermediate 
stage,  but  a  damning  ultimate.  No  one  ever  caught 
Thomas  Hardy,  or  George  Meredith,  or  Mark  Twain 
or  Shakespeare  or  Ho  wells,  at  Writing! 

Another  letter  written  in  1915,  not  long  after  the 
publication  of  **The  Turmoil,"  reveals  Tarkington's 
attitude  on  certain  other  matters  connected  ^th  the 
work  of  authorship: 

I  try  not  to  see  publisher's  advertisements,  literary 
magazines  and  literary  pages  in  the  newspapers.  1 
went  all  through  it.  The  only  way  is  not  to  know 
about  it.  1  read  what  I  happen  to  see,  but  I  take  real 
pains  to  see  as  little  about  myself  and  my  work  as  I 
possibly  can.  That's  the  result  of  earlier  squirmings 
which  I  look  back  upon  now  with  philosophy.  After 
proofs  are  corrected  and  a  book  is  printed  I'm 
through.  I  haven't  read  "The  Turmoil"  as  a 
printed  book;  I  don't  know  where  its  sale  has  got 
to.  I  haven't  asked  and  haven't  thought  of  it  often. 
There'll  be  a  cheque  some  day,  and  the  less  I  specu- 


late  about  it  the  more  interesting  will  be  its  appear- 
ance! You  see,  in  certain  ways  I  regulate  myself 
and  thereby  find  life  the  merrier.  It  can  be  done  in 
the  forties  I  find. 

The  change  in  Tarkington  has  been  a  dual  change. 
The  satirist  in  him  turned  into  the  kindly  humorist  of 
"Penrod"  and  "Seventeen"  while  the  romanticist 
was  becoming  a  realist,  and  it  may  be  added,  paren- 
thetically, a  purely  American  realist,  in  contradis- 
tinction to  that  crop  of  "young  American  realists," 
who  do  not  write  Uke  Americans,  but  follow  the 
Russians,  the  Scandinavians,  Freud  and  H.  G.  Wells. 

Tarkington  is  as  American  as  Mark  Twain,  and 
the  gap  between  the  two  sides  of  Mark  Twain's  dual- 
ity as  expressed  in  "Joan  of  Arc"  and  "Huckleberry 
Finn,"  is  no  greater  than  the  gap  between  the  two 
sides  of  Tarkington  as  expressed  in  "The  Magnificent 
Ambersons"  or  "Alice  Adams"  on  the  one  hand,  and 
"Penrod"  or  "Seventeen"  upon  the  other. 

"  The  Flirt "  was  no  sooner  ready  for  the  press  than 
the  author,  perhaps  in  a  reaction  from  tragedy, 
turned  to  youth. 

In  a  letter  written  in  mid-April,  1913,  he  mentions 
the  first  "Penrod"  stories,  and  adds  some  interesting 
details  concerning  his  methods  of  work: 



I'm  having  a  jovial  time  with  my  boy  studies — • 
eight  of  'em.  One  a  week,  now — ^about  three  days 
torUing,  beginning  at  noon  and  running  through  to 
eleven  or  one  at  night. 

I  wonder  if  you  are  bothered  by  any  physical  de- 
tail. I  beUeve,  though,  you  go  bang  to  the  type- 
writer— a  mystery  to  me.  I've  worked  out  a  sort  of 
system.  I  live  in  bathrobes.  Nothing  of  anything 
from  outside  gets  by  to  my  workroom.  That's  the 
first  requisite.  About  two  o'clock  they  bring  me 
beef-tea  and  coflFee.  I  get  into  some  clothes  at  six, 
donH  eat  heavily^  and  am  back  at  seven,  bathrobe 
again.  I  have  a  pencil  machine  and  sharp>en  about 
three  dozen  every  night;  write  on  a  draughtsman's 
drawingboard,  tilted,  a  card-table  at  my  elbow. 
Nobody  ever  talks  audibly  in  my  part  of  the  house. 
I've  grown  completely  detached.  There's  nobody  I 
"have  to  see"  about  anything.  The  day  after  finish- 
ing a  story  I  go  out  walking  or  motoring;  then  I  come 
back  and  stay  in  here — ^in  this  room — ^till  the  next  is 
done.  To-day  (you're  receiving  this  letter  on  ac- 
count of  it)  I'm  just  sticking  here,  knowing  I  can't 
get  anything  of  the  next  yarn  to  take  shape  to-day , 
but  I  will  to-morrow,  because  I'm  keeping  externals 
out.  These  things  are  deviUsh  important.  You 
must  furnish  yourself  with  the  overalls  and  the  right 
shaped  trowel  handle. 

I  envy  the  reader  as  he  turns  now  to  the  first  chap- 
ter of  "The  Magnificent  Ambersons,"  and  I  con- 
gratulate him  on  the  knowledge  he  has  gathered  of 
the  author  of  the  novel  through    perusal   of   this 


introductory  note  —  which,  though  I  sign  it,  is 
hardly  more  than  a  collection  of  extracts  from  per- 
sonal letters  written  by  Booth  Tarkington  and  never 
intended  to  be  pubUshed. 

Julian  Street. 

Princeton,  N.  J. 
February,  1922. 




MAJOR  AMBERSON  had  "made  a  fortune*' 
in  ISTS,  when  other  people  were  losing 
fortunes,  and  the  magnificence  of  the 
Ambersons  began  then.  Magnificence,  like  the  size 
of  a  fortune,  is  always  comparative,  as  even  Mag- 
nificent Lorenzo  may  now  perceive,  if  he  has  hap- 
pened to  haunt  New  York  in  1916;  and  the 
Ambersons  were  magnificent  in  their  day  and  place* 
Their  splendour  lasted  throughout  all  the  years  that 
saw  their  Midland  town  spread  and  darken  into  a 
city,  but  reached  its  topmost  during  the  period  when 
every  prosperous  family  with  children  kept  a  New- 
foundland dog. 

In  that  town,  in  those  days,  all  the  women  who 
wore  silk  or  velvet  knew  all  the  other  women  who 
wore  silk  or  velvet,  and  when  there  was  a  new  pur- 
chase of  sealskin.  «ick  people  were  got  to  windows  to 



see  it  go  by.  Trotters  were  out,  in  the  winter 
afternoons,  racing  light  sleighs  on  National  Avenue 
and  Tennessee  Street;  everybody  recognized  both  the 
trotters  and  the  drivers;  and  again  knew  them  as 
weU  on  summer  evenings,  when  sUm  buggies  whizzed 
by  in  renewals  of  the  snow-time  rivalry.  For  that 
matter,  everybody  knew  everybody  else's  family 
horse-and-carriage,  could  identify  such  a  silhouette 
half  a  niile  down  the  street,  and  thereby  was  sure 
who  was  going  to  market,  or  to  a  reception,  or  com- 
ing home  from  oflSce  or  store  to  noon  dinner  or  even- 
ing supper. 

During  the  earlier  years  of  this  period,  elegance  of 
personal  appearance  was  believed  to  rest  more  upon 
the  texture  of  garments  than  upon  their  shaping. 
A  silk  dress  needed  no  remodelling  when  it  was  a  year 
or  so  old;  it  remained  distinguished  by  merely 
remaimng  silk.  Old  men  and  governors  wore  broad- 
cloth; "full  dress"  was  broadcloth  with  "doe- 
skin" trousers;  and  there  were  seen  men  of  all  ages 
to  whom  a  hat  meant  only  that  rigid,  tall  silk  thing 
known  to  impudence  as  a  "stove-pipe."  In  town 
and  country  these  men  would  wear  no  other  hat, 
and,  without  self-consciousness,  they  went  rowing 
in  such  hats. 


Shifting  fashions  of  shape  replaced  aristocracy  of 
texture:  dressmakers,  shoemakers,  hatmakers,  and 
{;ailors,  increasing  in  cunning  and  in  power,  found 
means  to  make  new  clothes  old.  The  long  con-> 
tagion  of  the  "Derby"  hat  arrived:  one  season  the 
crown  of  this  hat  would  be  a  bucket;  the  next  it  would 
be  a  spoon.  Every  house  still  kept  its  bootjack,  but 
high-topped  boots  gave  way  to  shoes  and  "congress 
gaiters**;  and  these  were  played  through  fashions 
that  shaped  them  now  with  toes  like  box-ends  and 
now  with  toes  like  the  prows  of  racing  shells. 

Trousers  with  a  crease  were  considered  plebeian; 
the  crease  proved  that  the  garment  had  lain  upon 
A  shelf,  and  hence  was  "ready-made**;  these  be- 
traying trousers  were  called  "hand-me-downs,** 
in  allusion  to  the  shelf.  In  the  early  'eighties, 
while  bangs  and  bustles  were  having  their  way  with 
women,  that  variation  of  dandy  known  as  the 
"dude**  was  invented:  he  wore  trousers  as  tight  as 
stockings,  dagger-pointed  shoes,  a  spoon  "Derby,** 
a  single-breasted  coat  called  a  "Chesterfield,**  with 
short  flaring  skirts,  a  torturing  cylindrical  collar, 
laundered  to  a  polish  and  three  inches  high»  while 
his  other  neckgear  might  be  a  heavy,  puffed  cravat 
or  a  tiny  bow  fit  for  a  doll*s  braids.    With  evening 


dress  he  wore  a  tan  overcoat  so  short  that  his  black 
coat-tails  hung  visible,  five  inches  below  the  over- 
coat; but  after  a  season  or  two  he  lengthened  his 
overcoat  till  it  touched  his  heels,  and  he  passed  out 
of  his  tight  trousers  into  trousers  like  great  bags. 
Then,  presently,  he  was  seen  no  more,  though  the 
word  that  had  been  coined  for  him  remained  in  the 
vocabularies  of  the  impertinent. 

It  was  a  hairier  day  than  this.  Beards  were  to 
the  wearers'  fancy,  and  things  as  strange  as  the 
Kaiserliche  boar-tusk  moustache  were  commonplace. 
** Side-burns''  found  nourishment  upon  childlike 
profiles;  great  Dundreary  whiskers  blew  like  tip- 
pets over  young  shoulders;  moustaches  were  trained 
as  lambrequins  over  forgotten  mouths;  and  it  was 
possible  for  a  Senator  of  the  United  States  to  wear 
a  mist  of  white  whisker  upon  his  throat  only,  not 
a  newspaper  in  the  land  finding  the  ornament  dis- 
tinguished enough  to  warrant  a  lampoon.  Surely 
no  more  is  needed  to  prove  that  so  short  a  time  ago 
we  were  living  in  another  age! 

.  .  .  At  the  beginning  of  the  Ambersons' 
great  period  most  of  the  houses  of  the  Midland 
town  were  of  a  pleasant  architecture.  They  lacked 
rtyle.  but  also  lacked  pretentiousness^  and  what*^ 


ever  does  not  pretend  at  all  has  style  enough.  They 
stood  in  commodious  yards,  well  shaded  by  left- 
over forest  trees,  elm  and  walnut  and  beech,  with 
here  and  there  a  line  of  tall  sycamores  where  the 
land  had  been  made  by  filling  bayous  from  the 
creek.  The  house  of  a  "prominent  resident,"  fac- 
ing Military  Square,  or  National  Avenue,  or  Ten- 
nessee Street,  was  built  of  brick  upon  a  stone  foun- 
dation, or  of  wood  upon  a  brick  foundation.  Usually 
it  had  a  "front  porch"  and  a  "back  porch";  often  a 
"side  porch,"  too.  There  was  a  "front  hall";  there 
was  a  "side  hall";  and  sometimes  a  "back  hall." 
From  the  "front  hall"  opened  three  rooms,  the 
"parlour,"  the  "sitting  room,"  and  the  "hbrary": 
and  the  Kbrary  could  sjiow  warrant  to  its  title — ^for 
some  reason  these  people  bought  books.  Com- 
monly, the  family  sat  more  in  the  library  than  in  the 
"sitting  room,"  while  callers,  when  they  came  for- 
mally, were  kept  to  the  "parlour,"  a  place  of  formid- 
able polish  and  discomfort.  The  upholstery  of  the 
library  furniture  was  a  httle  shabby;  but  the  hostile 
chairs  and  sofa  of  the  "parlour"  always  looked  new. 
For  all  the  wear  and  tear  they  got  they  should  have 
lasted  a  thousand  years. 

Upstairs  were  the  bedrooms;  "mother-and-father's 


room"  the  largest;  a  smaller  room  for  one  or  two  soiis> 
another  for  one  or  two  daughters;  each  of  these  rooms 
containing  a  double  bed,  a  "  washstand,"  a  "bureau," 
a  wardrobe,  a  little  table,  a  rocking-chair,  and  often 
a  chair  or  two  that  had  been  slightly  damaged  down- 
stairs, but  not  enough  to  justify  either  the  expense 
of  repair  or  decisive  abandonment  in  the  attic.  And 
there  was  always  a  "spare-room,"  for  visitors 
(where  the  sewing-machine  usually  was  kept)> 
and  diu-ing  the  'seventies  there  developed  an  appre- 
ciation of  the  necessity  for  a  bathroom.  Therefore 
the  architects  placed  bathrooms  in  the  new  houses, 
and  the  older  houses  tore  out  a  cupboard  or  two,  set 
up  a  boiler  beside  the  kitchen  stove,  and  sought  a  new 
godliness,  each  with  its  own  bathroom.  The  great 
American  plumber  joke,  that  many-branched  ever- 
green, was  planted  at  this  time. 

At  the  rear  of  the  house,  upstairs,  was  a  bleak 
little  chamber,  called  "the  girl's  room,"  and  in  the 
stable  there  was  another  bedroom,  adjoining  the 
hayloft,  and  called  "the  hired  man's  room." 
House  and  stable  cost  seven  or  eight  thousand  dol- 
lars to  build,  and  people  with  that  much  money  to 
invest  in  such  comforts  were  classified  as  the  Rich. 
They  paid  the  inhabitant  of  "the  girrs  room"  two 


dollars  a  week,  and,  in  the  latter  part  of  this  period, 
two  dollars  and  a  half,  and  finally  three  dollars  a 
week.  She  was  Irish,  ordinarily,  or  German,  or  it 
might  be  Scandinavian,  but  never  native  to  the 
land  unless  she  happened  to  be  a  person  of  colour. 
The  man  or  youth  who  lived  in  the  stable  had  like 
wages,  and  sometimes  he,  too,  was  lately  a  steerage 
voyager,  but  much  oftener  he  was  coloured. 

After  sunrise,  on  pleasant  mornings,  the  alleys 
behind  the  stables  were  gay;  laughter  and  shouting 
went  up  and  down  their  dusty  lengths,  with  a  lively 
accompaniment  of  curry-combs  knocking  against 
back  fences  and  stable  walls,  for  the  darkies  loved 
to  curry  their  horses  in  the  alley.  Darkies  always 
prefer  to  gossip  in  shouts  instead  of  whispers;  and 
they  feel  that  profanity,  unless  it  be  vociferous,  is 
almost  worthless.  Horrible  phrases  were  caught  by 
early  rising  children  and  carried  to  older  people 
for  definition,  sometimes  at  inof^ortune  moments; 
while  less  investigative  children  would  often  merely 
repeat  the  phrases  in  some  subsequent  flurry  of 
agitation,  and  yet  bring  about  consequences  so 
emphatic  as  to  be  recalled  with  ease  in  middle 

•    c    •     They  have  passed,  those  darky 


men  of  the  Midland  town;  and  the  introspective 
horses  they  curried  and  brushed  and  whacked  and 
amiably  cursed — ^those  good  old  horses  switch  thei^ 
tails  at  flies  no  more.  For  all  their  seeming  perma- 
nence they  might  as  well  have  been  buffaloes — or 
the  buffalo  laprobes  that  grew  bald  in  patches  and 
used  to  slide  froni  the  careless  drivers'  knees  and  hang 
unconcerned,  half  way  to  the  ground.  The  stables 
have  been  transformed  into  other  likenesses,  or  swept 
Away,  like  the  woodsheds  where  were  kept  the  stove- 
wood  and  kindling  that  the  "girl"  and  the  "hired- 
man"  always  quarrelled  over:  who  should  fetch  it. 
Horse  and  stable  and  woodshed,  and  the  whole  tribe 
of  the  "hired-man,"  all  are  gone.  They  went 
quickly,  yet  so  silently  that  we  whom  they  served 
have  not  yet  really  noticed  that  they  are  vanished. 

So  with  other  vanishings.  There  were  the  little 
bunty  street-cars  on  the  long,  single  track  that 
went  its  troubled  way  among  the  cobblestones.  At 
the  rear  door  of  the  car  there  was  no  platform,  but  a 
step  where  passengers  clung  in  wet  clumps  when  the 
weather  was  bad  and  the  car  crowded.  The  pa- 
trons— if  not  too  absent-minded — ^put  their  fares  into 
a  slot;  and  no  conductor  paced  the  heaving  floor, 
hut  the  driver  would  rap  remindingly  with  his  elbow 


upon  the  glass  of  the  door  to  his  little  open  platfonn 
if  the  nickels  and  the  passengers  did  not  appear  to 
coincide  in  number.  A  lone  mule  drew  the  car, 
and  sometimes  drew  it  oflF  the  track,  when  the  pas- 
sengers would  get  out  and  push  it  on  again.  They 
really  owed  it  courtesies  like  this,  for  the  car  was 
genially  accommodating:  a  lady  could  whistle  to  it 
from  an  upstairs  window,  and  the  car  would  halt  at 
once  and  wait  for  her  while  she  shut  the  window, 
put  on  her  hat  and  cloak,  went  downstairs,  found  an 
umbrella,  told  the  "girl"  what  to  have  for  dinner, 
and  came  forth  from  the  house. 

The  previous  passengers  made  little  .objection  to 
such  gallantry  on  the  part  of  the  car:  they  were 
wont  to  expect  as  much  for  themselves  on  like  oc- 
casion. In  good  weather  the  mule  pulled  the  car 
a  mile  in  a  little  less  than  twenty  minutes,  unless 
the  stops  were  too  long;  but  when  the  trolley-car 
came.,  doing  its  mile  in  five  miriutes  and  better,  it 
would  wait  for  nobody.  Nor  could  its  passengers 
have  endured  such  a  thing,  because  the  faster  theyV 
were  carried  the  less  time  they  had  to  spare!  In 
the  days  before  deathly  contrivances  hustled  them 
through  their  lives,  and  when  they  had  no  tele- 
flbones — another   ancient   vacancy    profoimdly   re* 


sponsible  for  leisure — ^they  had  time  for  everythii^g: 
time  to  think,  to  talk,  time  to  read,  time  to  wait 
for  a  lady! 

They  even  had  time  to  dance  "square  dances,'* 
quadrilles,  and  "lancers";  they  also  danced  the 
"  racquette,''  and  schottisches  and  polkas,  and  such 
whims  as  the  "Portland  Fancy."  They  pushed 
back  the  sliding  doors  between  the  "parlour"  and 
the  "sitting  room,"  tacked  down  crash  over  the 
carpets,  hired  a  few  palms  in  green  tubs,  stationed 
three  or  four  Itahan  musicians  under  the  stairway 
in  the  "front  hall" — and  had  great  nights! 

But  these  people  were  gayest  on  New  Year's 
Day;  they  made  it  a  true  festival — ^something  no 
longer  known.  The  women  gathered  to  "assist" 
the  hostesses  who  kept  "Open  House";  and  the 
carefree  men,  dandified  and  perfumed,  went  about 
in  sleighs,  or  in  carriages  and  ponderous  "hacks," 
going  from  Open  House  to  Open  House,  leaving 
fantastic  cards  in  fancy  baskets  as  they  entered 
each  doorway,  and  emerging  a  little  later,  more 
carefree  than  ever,  if  the  punch  had  been  to  their 
liking.  It  always  was,  and,  as  the  afternoon  wore 
on,  pedestrians  saw  great  gesturing  and  waving  of 
skin-tight  lemon  gloves,   while  ruinous   fragmentfi 


of  song  were  dropped  behind  as  the  carriages  rolled 
up  and  down  the  streets. 

"Keeping  Open  House"  was  a  merry  custom; 
it  has  gone,  like  the  all-day  picnic  in  the  woods, 
and  like  that  prettiest  of  all  vanished  customs,  the 
serenade.  When  a  lively  girl  visited  the  town  she 
did  not  long  go  imserenaded,  though  a  visitor  was 
not  indeed  needed  to  excuse  a  serenade.  Of  a 
summer  night,  young  men  would  bring  an  or- 
chestra under  a  pretty  girl's  window — or,  it  might 
be,  her  father's,  or  that  of  an  ailing  maiden  aunt — 
and  flute,  harp,  fiddle,  'cello,  comet,  and  bass  viol 
would  presently  release  to  the  dulcet  stars  such 
melodies  as  sing  through  "You'll  Remember  Me," 
"I  Dreamt  That  I  Dwelt  in  Marble  Halls,"  "Sil- 
ver  Threads  Among  the  Gold,"  "Kathleen  Mavour- 
neen,"  or  "The  Soldier's  Farewell." 

They  had  other  music  to  oflFer,  too,  for  these 
were  the  happy  days  of  "Olivette"  and  "The  Mas- 
cotte"  and  "The  Chimes  of  Normandy"  and 
"Girofl6-Girofla"  and  "Era  Diavola."  Better  than 
that,  these  were  the  days  of  "Pinafore"  and  "The 
Pirates  of  Penzance"  and  of  "Patience."  This 
last  was  needed  in  the  Midland  town,  as  elsewhere, 
for  the  "aesthetic  movement"  had  reached  thus  fai^ 


from  London,  and  terrible  thi^  were  being  done  to 
honest  old  furniture.  Maidens  sawed  what-nots  in 
two,  and  gilded  the  remains.  They  took  the  rockers 
from  rocking-chairs  and  gilded  the  inadequate  legs'; 
they  gilded  the  easels  that  supported  the  crayon 
portraits  of  their  deceased  imcles.  In  the  new  spirit 
of  art  they  sold  old  clocks  for  new,  and  threw  wax 
flowers  and  wax  fruit,  and  the  protecting  glass  domes, 
out  upon  the  trash-heap.  They  filled  vases  with  pea- 
cock feathers,  or  cat-tails,  or  sumach,  or  sunflowers^ 
and  set  the  vases  upon  mantelpieces  and  marble- 
topped  tables.  They  embroidered  daisies  (which 
they  called  "marguerites'*)  and  sunflowers  and 
sumach  and  cat-tails  and  owls  and  peacock  featherp 
upon  plush  screens  and  upon  heavy  cushions,  then 
strewed  these  cushions  upon  floors  where  fathers 
fell  over  them  in  the  dark.  In  the  teeth  of  sinful 
oratory,  the  daughters  went  on  embroidering:  they 
embroidered  daisies  and  sunflowers  and  sumach  and 
cat-tails  and  owls  and  peacock  feathers  upon 
"throws"  which  they  had  the  courage  to  drape 
upon  horsehair  sofas;  they  painted  owls  and  daisies 
and  sunflowers  and  sumach  and  cat-tails  and  pea- 
cock feathers  upon  tambourines.  They  himg 
Qiinese  umbrellas  of  paper  to  the  chandeliers;  they 



nailed  paper  fans  t%.  the  walls.  Tliey  "studied" 
painting  on  china,  these  girls;  they  sang  Tosti's  new 
songs;  they  sometimes  still  practised  the  old,  genteel 
habit  of  lady-fainting,  and  were  most  charming  of  all 
when  they  drove  forth,  three  or  four  in  a  basket 
phaeton,  on  a  spring  morning. 

Croquet  and  the  mildest  archery  ever  known  were 
the  sports  of  people  still  yoimg  and  active  enough  for 
go  much  exertion;  middle-age  played  euchre.  There 
was  a  theatre,  next  door  to  the  Amberson  Hotel, 
and  when  Edwin  Booth  came  for  a  night,  everybody 
who  could  aflFord  to  buy  a  ticket  was  there, 
and  all  the  "backs"  in  town  were  hired.  "The 
Black  Crook"  also  filled  the  theatre,  but  the  audi- 
ence then  was  almost  entirely  of  men  who  looked 
uneasy  as  they  left  for  home  when  the  final  curtain 
fell  upon  the  shocking  girls  dressed  as  fairies.  But 
the  theatre  did  not  often  do  so  well;  the  people  of  the 
town  were  still  too  thrifty. 

They  were  thrifty  because  they  were  the  sons  or 
grandsons  of  the  "early  settlers,"  who  had  opened 
the  wilderness  and  had  reached  it  from  the  East  and 
the  South  with  wagons  and  axes  and  guns,  but  with 
BO  money  at  all.  The  pioneers  were  thrifty  or  they 
would  have  perished:  they  had  to  store  away  food 


for  the  winter,  or  goods  to  trade  for  food,  and  they 
often  feared  they  had  not  stored  enough — ^they 
left  traces  of  that  fear  in  their  sons  and  grandsons. 
In  the  minds  of  most  of  these,  indeed,  their  thrift 
was  next  to  their  religion:  to  save,  even  for  the  sake 
of  saving,  was  their  earliest  lesson  and  discipline. 
No  matter  how  prosperous  they  were,  they  could 
not  spend  money  either  upon  "art,"  or  upon  mere 
luxury  and  entertainment,  without  a  sense  of  sin. 

Against  so  homespun  a  background  the  mag- 
nfficence  of  the  Ambersons  was  as  conspicuous  as 
a  brass  band  at  a  funeral.  Major  Amberson  bought 
two  hundred  acres  of  land  at  the  end  of  National 
Avenue;  and  through  this  tract  he  built  broad  streets 
and  cross-streets;  paved  them  with  cedar  block,  and 
curbed  them  with  stone.  He  set  up  fountains,  here 
and  there,  where  the  streets  intersected,  and  at  sym- 
metrical intervals  placed  cast-iron  statues,  painted 
white,  with  their  titles  clear  upon  the  pedestals: 
Minerva,  Mercury,  Hercules,  Venus,  Gladiator, 
Emperor  Augustus,  Fisher  Boy,  Stag-hound,  MastiflF, 
Greyhound,  Fawn,  Antelope,  Wounded  Doe,  and 
Wounded  Lion.  Most  of  the  forest  trees  had  been 
left  to  flourish  still,  and,  at  some  distance,  or  by 
moonlight,  the  place  was  in  truth  beautiful;  but  the 





I  ardent  citizen,  loving  to  see  his  city  grow,  wanted 
neither  distance  nor  moonlight.  He  had  not  seen 
Versailles,  but,  standing  before  the  Fountain  of  Nep- 
tune in  Amberson  Addition,  at  bright  noon,  and  quot* 
ing  the  favourite  comparison  of  the  local  newspapers, 
he  declared  Versailles  outdone.  All  this  Art  showed 
a  profit  from  the  start,  for  the  lots  sold  well  and  there 
was  something  like  a  rush  to  build  in  the  new  Addi- 
tion. Its  main  thoroughfare,  an  oblique  contin- 
uation of  National  ^venue,  was  called  Amberson 
Boulevard,  and  here,  at  the  jimcture  of  the  new 
Boulevard  and  the  Avenue,  Major  Amberson  re-^ 
served  four  acres  for  himself,  and  built  his  new  house 
— the  Amberson  Mansion,  of  course. 

This  house  was  the  pride  of  the  town.  Faced 
with  stone  as  far  back  as  the  dining-room  windows, 
it  was  a  house  of  arches  and  turrets  and  girdling 
stone  porches:  it  had  the  first  porte-cochere  seen 
in  that  town.  There  was  a  central  "front  hall" 
with  a  great  black  walnut  stairway,  and  open  to  a 
green  glass  skylight  called  the  "dome,"  three  stories 
above  the  ground  floor.  A  ballroom  occupied  most 
of  the  third  story;  and  at  one  end  of  it  was  a  carved 
walnut  gallery  for  the  musicians.  Citizens  told 
strangers  that  the  cost  of  all  this  black  walnut  and 


wood-carving  was  sixty  thousand  dollars.  "Sixty 
thousand  dollars  for  the  wood- work  alone  I  Yes,  sir, 
and  hardwood  floors  all  over  the  house!  Turkish 
rugs  and  no  carpets  at  all,  except  a  Brussels  carpet  in 
the  front  parlotu* — ^I  hear  they  call  it  the  *reception- 
room/  Hot  and  cold  water  upstairs  and  down,  and 
stationary  washstands  in  every  last  bedroom  in  the 
place!  Their  sideboard's  built  right  into  the  house 
and  goes  all  the  way  across  one  end  of  the  dining  room. 
It  isn't  walnut,  it's  solid  mahogany !  Not  veneering 
— solid  mahogany!  Well,  sir,  I  presume  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  would  be  tickled  to  swap  the 
White  House  for  the  new  Amberson  Mansion,  if  the 
Major'd  give  him  the  chance — ^but  by  the  Almighty 
Dollar,  you  bet  your  sweet  life  the  Major  wouldn't!" 
The  visitor  to  the  town  was  certain  to  receive 
further  enlightenment,  for  there  was  one  form  of 
entertainment  never  omitted:  he  was  always  pat- 
riotically taken  for  "a  little  drive  around  our  city," 
even  if  his  host  had  to  hire  a  hack,  and  the  climax  of 
the  display  was  the  Amberson  Mansion.  "Look 
at  that  greenhouse  they've  put  up  there  in  the  side 
yard,"  the  escort  would  continue.  "  And  look  at  that 
brick  stable!  Most  folks  would  think  that  stable 
plenty  big  enough  and  good  enough  to  live  in;  it's 


got  running  water  and  four  rooms  upstairs  for  two 
hired  men  and  one  of  'em's  family  to  live  in.  They 
keep  one  hired  man  loafin'  in  the  house,  and  they  got 
a  married  hired  man  out  in  the  stable,  and  his  wife 
does  the  washing.  They  got  box-stalls  for  touf 
horses,  and  they  keep  a  coupay,  and  some  new  kinds 
of  fancy  rigs  you  never  saw  the  beat  of!  ^Carts' 
they  call  two  of  'em — 'way  up  in  the  air  they  are— 
too  high  for  me!  I  guess  they  got  every  new  kind  of 
fancy  rig  in  there  that's  been  invented.  And  harness 
— well,  everybody  in  town  can  tell  when  Ambersons 
are  out  driving  after  dark,  by  die  jingle.  This  town 
never  did  see  so  much  style  as  Ambersons  are  put- 
ting on,  these  days;  and  I  guess  it's  going  to  be  expen- 
sive, because  a  lot  of  other  folks'll  try  to  keep  up 
with  'em.  The  Major's  wife  and  the  daughter's  been 
to  Europe,  and  my  wife  tells  me  since  they  got  back 
they  make  tea  there  every  afternoon  about  five 
o'clock,  and  drink  it.  Seems  to  me  it  would  gp 
against  a  person's  stomach,  just  before  supper  like 
that,  and  anyway  tea  isn't  fit  for  much — ^not  unless 
you're  sick  or  something.  My  wife  says  Ambersons 
don't  make  lettuce  salad  the  way  other  people  do; 
they  don't  chop  it  up  with  sugar  and  vinegar  at  all. 
They  pour  olive  oil  on  it  with  their  vinegar,  and  they 


have  it  separate — ^not  along  with  the  rest  of  the  meaL 
And  they  eat  these  olives,  too:  green  things  they  are, 
something  like  a  hard  plum,  but  a  friend  of  mine 
told  me  they  tasted  a  good  deal  like,  a  bad  hickory- 
nut.  My  wife  says  she's  going  to  buy  some;  you 
got  to  eat  nine  and  then  you  get  to  like  'em,  she  says. 
Well,  I  wouldn't  eat  nine  bad  hickory-nuts  to  get  to 
like  them,  and  I'm  going  to  let  these  ohves  alone. 
Kind  of  a  woman's  dish,  anyway,  I  suspect,  but 
most  everybody'U  be  makin'  a  stagger  to  worm 
through  nine  of  'em,  now  Ambersons  brought  'em 
to  town.  Yes,  sir,  the  rest'll  eat  'em,  whether  they 
get  sick  or  not!  Looks  to  me  like  some  people  in 
this  city'd  be  willing  to  go  crazy  if  they  thought 
that  woidd  help  'em  to  be  as  high-toned  as  Amber- 
sons.  Old  Aleck  Minafer — ^he's  about  the  closest 
old  codger  we  got — he  come  in  my  oflBce  the  other 
day,  and  he  pretty  near  had  a  stroke  tellin'  me  about 
his  daughter  Fanny.  Seems  Miss  Isabel  Amber- 
son's  got  some  kind  of  a  dog — they  call  it  a  Saint 
Bernard — and  Fanny  was  bound  to  have  one,  .too. 
Well,  old  Aleck  told  her  he  didn't  like  dogs  except 
rat-terriers,  because  a  rat-terrier  cleans  up  the  mice> 
but  she  kept  on  at  him,  and  finally  he  said  all  right 
she  could  have  one.     Then,  by  G-eorge!  she  sayj? 


Ambersons  bought  their  dog,  and  you  can't  get  one 
without  paymg  for  it :  they  cost  from  fifty  to  a  hun- 
dred dollars  up!  Old  Aleck  wanted  to  know  if  I 
ever  heard  of  anybody  buyin'  a  dog  before,  because, 
of  course,  even  a  Newfoundland  or  a  setter  you  can 
usually  get  somebody  to  give  you  one.  He  says  he 
saw  some  sense  in  payin'  a  nigger  a  dime,  or  even 
a  quarter,  to  drown  a  dog  for  you,  but  to  pay  out 
filty  dollars  and  maybe  more — well,  sir,  he  like  to 
choked  himself  to  death,  right  there  in  my  office! 
Of  course  everybody  realizes  that  Major  Amberson 
is  a  fine  business  man,  but  what  with  throwin* 
money  aroimd  for  dogs,  and  every  which  and  what, 
some  think  all  this  style's  boimd  to  break  him  up» 
if  his  family  don't  quit!" 

One  citizen,  having  thus  discoursed  to  a  visitor, 
<^me  to  a  thoughtful  pause,  and  then  added,  ""  Does 
seem  pretty  much  like  squandering,  yet  when  you 
see  that  dog  out  walking  with  this  Miss  Isabel,  he 
seems  worth  the  money." 

"What's  she  look  like?" 

"Well,  sir,"  said  the  citizen,  "she's  not  more  than 
just  about  eighteen  or  maybe  nineteen  years  old^ 
and  I  don't  know  as  I  know  just  how  to  put  it — ^but 
die's  kind  of  a  delightful  lookin'  young  lady!" 


A  NOTHER  citizen  said  an  eloquent  thing  about 
/%  Miss  Isabel  Amberson^s  looks.  This  was 
-^  -^  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin  Foster,  the  foremost 
literary  authority  and  intellectual  leader  of  the 
commimity — ^for  both  the  daily  newspapers  thus 
described  Mrs.  Foster  when  she  foimded  the  Women's 
Tennyson  Club;  and  her  word  upon  art,  letters, 
and  the  drama  was  accepted  more  as  law  than  as 
opinion.  Naturally,  when  "Hazel  Kirke"  finally 
reached  the  town,  after  its  long  triumph  in  larger 
places,  many  peoplcf  waited  to  hear  what  Mrs, 
Henry  Franklin  Foster  thought  of  it  before  they 
felt  warranted  in  expressing  any  estimate  of  the  play. 
In  fact,  some  of  them  waited  in  the  lobby  of  the 
theatre,  as  they  came  out,  and  formed  an  inquiring 
group  about  her. 

I  didn't  see  the  play,"  she  informed  them. 
What !    Why,  we  saw  you,  right  in  the  middle  oi 
the  fourth  row!" 

*^Yes>"  she  said,  smiling,  "but  I  was  sitting  just 





behind  Isabel  Amberson.  I  couldn't  look  at  any- 
thing except  her  wavy  brown  hair  and  the  wonderful 
back  of  her. neck." 

The  ineligible  yoimg  men  of  the  town  (they  were 
all  ineligible)  were  unable  to  content  themselves  with 
the  .view  .that  had  so  charmed  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin 
Foster:  they  spent  their  time  struggling  to  keep  Miss 
Amberson's  face  turned  toward  them.  She  turned 
it  most  often,  observers  said,  toward  two :  one  excd- 
ling  in  the  general  struggle  by  his  sparkle,  and  the 
other  by  that  winning  if  not  winsome  old  trait,  per- 
sistence. The  sparkling  gentleman  ^^led  germans'' 
with  her,  and  sent  sonnets  to  her  with  his  bouquets 
— sonnets  lacking  neither  mui^ic  nor  wit.  He  was 
generous,  poor,  well-dressed,  and  his  amazing  per- 
suasiveness was  one  reason  why  he  was  always  in 
debt.  No  one  doubted  thai  he  would  be  able  to 
persuade  Isabel,  but  he  unfortimately  joined  too 
merry  a  party  one  night,  and,  during  a  moonlight 
serenade  upon  the  lawn  before  the  Amberson  Man- 
sion, was  easily  identified  from  the  windows  as  the 
person  who  stepped  through  the  bass  viol  and  had  to 
be  assisted  to  a  waiting  carriage.  One  of  Miss 
Amberson's  brothers  wa^  among  the  serenaders, 
9ndp    when   the   party   had    dispersed,    remained 


propped  against  the  front  door  in  a  state  of  helpless 
liveliness;  the  Major  going  down  in  a  dressing-gown 
and  slippers  to  bring  him  in,  and  scolding  mildly, 
while  imperfectly  concealing  strong  impulses  to 
laughter.  Miss  Amberson  also  laughed  at  this 
brother,  the  next  day,  but  for  the  suitor  it  .was 
a  different  matter:  she  refused  to  see  him  when 
he  called  to  apologize.  **You  seem  to  care  a  great 
deal  about  bass  viols!"  he  wrote  her.  "I  promise 
never  to  break  another."  She  made  no  response 
to  the  note,  unless  it  was  an  answer,  two  weeks  later, 
when  her  engagement  was  announced.  She  took 
the  persistent  one,  Wilbur  Minafer,  no  breaker  of 
bass  viols  or  of  hearts,  no  serenader  at  all. 

A  few  people,  who  always  foresaw  everything, 
claimed  that  they  were  not  surprised,  because 
though  Wilbtur  Minafer  "might  not  be  an  Apollo, 
as  it  were,"  he  was  "a  steady  young  business  man, 
and  a  good  church-goer,"  and  Isabel  Amberson  was 
** pretty  sensible — ^for  such  a  showy  girl."  But  the 
engagement  astoimded  the  yoimg  people,  and  most 
of  their  fathers  and  mothers,  too;  and  as  a  topic  it 
supplanted  literature  at  the  next  meeting  of  the 
'Women's  Tennyson  Club." 

**  Wilbur  Minafer  1^^  a  member  cried,  her  inflection 


seeming  to  imply  that  Wilbur's  crime  was  e^^plained 
by  his  surname.  "Wilbur  Minever  1  It's  the  queer^ 
est  thing  I  ever  heard !  To  think  of  her  taking  Wil- 
bur Minafer,  just  because  a  man  anjf  womap  ^ould 
like  a  thousand  times  better  was  a  little  wild  one 
night  at  a  serenade ! " 

"No,"  said  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin  Foster.  "It 
isn't  that.  It  isn't  even  because  she's  afraid  he'd 
be  a  dissipated  husband  and  she  wants  to  be  safe., 
It  isn't  because  she's  religious  or  hates  wildness;  it 
isn't  even  because  she  hates  wildness  in  Atm." 

"Well,  but  look  how  she's  thrown  him  over  for 


"No,  that  wasn't  her  reason,"  said  the  wise  Mrs. 
Henry  Franklin  Foster.  "If  men  only  knew  it — 
and  it's  a  good  thing  they  don't — ^a  woman  doesn't 
really  care  much  about  whether  a  man's  wild  or  not, 
if  it  doesn't  affect  herself,  and  Isabel  Amberson 
doesn't  care  a  thing!" 

"Mrs.  Foirfcr/" 

"No,  she  doesn't.  What  she  minds  is  his  making 
a  clown  of  himself  in  her  front  yard!  It  made  her 
think  he  didn't  care  much  about  her.  She's  prob- 
ably mistaken,  but  that's  what  she  thinks,  and  it'i? 
too  late  for  her  to  think  anything  else  now,  because 


die's  going  to  be  married  right  away-the  invitatioiis 
will  be  out  next  week.  It*ll  be  a  big  Amberson-style 
thing,  raw  oysters  floating  in  seooped-out  blocks  of  ice 
and  a  band  from  out-of-town — champagne,  showy 
presents;  a  colossal  present  from  the  Major.  Then 
Wilbur  will  take  Isabel  on  the  carefulest  little  wed- 
ding trip  he  can  manage,  and  she'll  be  a  good  wife  to 
him,  but  they'll  have  the  worst  spoiled  lot  of  children 
this  town  wiU  ever  see." 

"How  on  earth  do  you  ;>nake  ibat  out.  Mrs. 

"She  couldn't  love  Wilbur,  could  she?"  Mrs. 
Foster  demanded,  with  no  challengers.  "Well,  it 
will  all  go  to  her  children,  and  she'll  rum  'em!" 

The  prophetess  proved  to  be  mistaken  in  a  single 
detail  merely:  except  for  that,  her  foresight  was 
accurate.  The  wedding  was  of  Ambersonian  mag- 
nificence, even  to  the  floating  oysters;  and  the 
Major's  colossal  present  was  a  set  of  architect's  de* 
signs  for  a  house  almost  as  elaborate  and  impressive 
as  the  Mansion,  the  house  to  be  built  in  Amberson 
Addition  by  the  Major.  The  orchestra  was  cer- 
tainly not  that  local  one  which  had  suffered  the  loss 
of  a  bass  viol;  the  musicians  came,  according  to  the 
prophecy  and  next  morning's  paper,  from  afar;  and 


at  midnight  the  bride  was  still  being  toasted  in 
champagne,  though  she  had  departed  upon  her 
wedding  journey  at  ten.  Four  days  later  the  pair 
had  returned  to  town,  which  promptness  seemed 
fairly  to  demonstrate  that  Wilbur  had  indeed  taken 
Isabel  up>on  the  caref  ulest  little  trip  he  could  manage. 
According  to  every  report,  she  was  frona  the  start 
**si  good  wife  to  him,"  but  here  in  a  final  detail  the 
prophecy  proved  inaccurate.  Wilbur  and  Isabel 
did  not  have  children;  they  had  only  one. 

"Only  one,"  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin  Foster  admitted. 
**But  I'd  like  to  know  if  he  isn't  spoiled  enough  for  a 
whole  carload ! " 

Again  she  found  none  to  challenge  her. 

At  the  age  of  nine,  George  Amberson  Minafer,  the 
Major's  one  grandchild,  was  a  princely  terror, 
dreaded  not  only  in  Amberson  Addition  but  in  many 
other  quarters  through  which  he  galloped  on  his  white 
pony.  "By  golly,  I  guess  you  think  you  own  this 
town!"  an  embittered  labourer  complained,  one  day, 
as  Greorgie  rode  the  pony  straight  through  a  pile  of 
3and  the  man  was  sieving.  "  I  will  when  I  grow  up," 
the  undisturbed  child  replied.  "I  guess  my  grandpa 
owns  it  now,  you  bet!"  And  the  baffled  workman* 
no  means  to  controvert  what  seemed  a  mere 


exaggeration  of  the  facts,  could  only  mutter  "Oh, 
pull  down  your  vest!" 

"  Don't  haf  to !  Doctor  says  it  ain^t  healthy ! "  *  the 
boy  returned  promptly.  "  But  I  tell  you  what  I'll  do : 
I'll  pull  down  my  vest  if  you'll  wipe  oflf  your  chin ! " 

This  was  stock  and  stencil:  the  accustomed  argot 
of  street  badinage  of  the  period;  and  in  such  matters 
Georgie  was  an  expert.  He  had  no  vest  to  pull  down; 
the  incongruous  fact  was  that  a  fringed  sash  girdled 
the  juncture  of  his  velvet  blouse  and  breeches,  for 
the  Faimtleroy  period  had  set  in,  and  Georgie's 
mother  had  so  poor  an  eye  for  appropriate  things, 
where  Georgie  was  concerned,  that  she  dressed  him 
according  to  the  doctrine  of  that  school  in  boy 
decoration.  Not  only  did  he  wear  a  silk  sash,  and 
silk  stockings,  and  a  broad  lace  collar,  with  his  little 
black  velvet  suit :  he  had  long  brown  curls,  and  often 
came  home  with  burrs  m  them. 

Except  upon  the  surface  (which  was  not  his  own 
work,  but  his  mother's)  Georgie  bore  no  vivid 
resemblance  to  the  fabulous  Kttle  Cedric.  The 
storied  boy's  famous  "Lean  on  me,  grandfather," 
would  have  been  difficult  to  imagine  upon  the  lips  of 
Georgie.  A  month  after  his  ninth  birthday  anni- 
versary, when  the  Major  gave  him  his  pony»  he  had 


already  become  acquainted  with  the  toughest  boys 
in  various  distant  parts  of  the  town,  and  had  con- 
vinced them  that  the  toughness  of  a  rich  little  boy 
with  long  curls  might  be  considered  in  many  respects 
superior  to  their  own.  He  fought  them,  learning 
how  to  go  baresark  at  a  certain  point  in  a  fight» 
bursting  into  tears  of  anger,  reaching  for  rocks, 
uttering  wailed  threats  of  murder  and  attempting  to 
fulfil  them.  Fights  often  led  to  intimacies,  and  he 
acquired  the  art  of  saying  things  more  exciting  than 
"Don't  haf  to!"  and  "Doctor  says  it  ain't  healthy!'* 
Thus,  on  a  summer  afternoon,  a  strange  boy,  sitting 
bored  upon  the  gate-post  of  the  Re^^erend  Malloch 
Smith,  beheld  George  Amberson  Minaf er  rapidly  ap^ 
proaching  on  his  white  pony,  and  was  impelled  by 
bitterness  to  shout:  "Shoot  the  ole  jackass!  Look 
at  the  girly  curb!  Say,  bub,  where'd  you  steal  your 
mother's  ole  sash!" 

"Your  sister  stole  it  for  me!"  Georgie  instantly 
replied,  checking  the  pony.  "She  stole  it  oS  our 
do'es-line  an'  gave  it  to  me." 

"You  go  get  your  hair  cut!"  said  the  strangei 
hotly.     "Yah!  I  haven't  got  any  sister!" 

"I  know  you  haven't  at  home,"  Georgie  responded* 
^I  mean  the  one  that's  in  jail." 


"  I  dare  you  to  get  down  oflf  that  pony !  '* 
Georgie  jumped  to  the  ground,  and  the  other  boy 
descended   from  the   Reverend  Mr.  Smith's   gate- 
post— ^but  he  descended  inside  the  gate.     "I  dare 
you  outside  that  gate,"  said  Georgie. 

"Yah!   I  dare  you  half  way  here.   I  dare  you " 

But  these  were  luckless  challenges,  for  Georgie 
immediately  vaulted  the  fence — and  four  minutes 
later  Mrs.  Malloch  Smith,  hearing  strange  noises, 
looked  forth  from  a  window;  then  screamed,  and 
dashed  for  the  pastor's  study.  Mr.  Malloch  Smith, 
that  grim-bearded  Methodist,  came  to  the  front  yard 
and  found  his  visiting  nephew  being  rapidly  prepared 
by  Master  Minafer  to  serve  as  a  principal  figure  in  a 
pageant  of  massacre.  It  was  with  great  physical 
difficulty  that  Mr.  Smith  managed  to  give  his 
nephew  a  chance  to  escape  into  the  house,  for  Georgie 
was  hard  and  quick,  and,  in  such  matters,  remarkably 
intense;  but  the  minister,  after  a  grotesque  tussle,  got 
him  sepai'ated  from  his  opponent,  and  shook  him. 

"You  stop  that,  you!"  Georgie  cried  fiercely;  and 
wrenched  himself  away.  "I  guess  you  don't  know 
who  I  am!" 

"Yes,  I  do  know!"  the  angered  Mr.  Smith  retor- 
ted.    "I  know  who  you  are,  and  you're  a  disgrace  tt» 


your  mothar!  Your  mother  ought  to  be  ashamed  of 
herself  to  allow " 

^^Shut  up  about  my  mother  bein'  ashamed  of 

Mr.  Smith,  exaiq>erated,  was  unable  to  close  the 
dialogue  with  dignity.  "  She  ought  to  be  ashamed/* 
he  repeated.  ''A  woman  that  lets  a  bad  boy  Uke 
you " 

But  Georgie  had  reached  his  pony  and  mounted. 
Before  setting  off  at  his  accustomed  gallop,  he  paused 
to  interrupt  the  Reverend  Malloch  Smith  again. 
"You  pull  down  your  vest,  you  ole  Billygoat,  you!'* 
he  shouted,  distinctly.  "Pull  down  your  vest,  wipQ 
off  your  chin — ^an'  go  to  hell!" 

Such  precocity  is  less  unusual,  even  in  children  of  the 
Rich,  than  most  grown  people  imagine.  However, 
it  was  a  new  experience  for  the  Reverend  Malloch 
Smith,  and  left  him  in  a  state  of  excitement.  He  at 
once  wrote  a  note  to  Georgia's  mother,  describing  the 
crime  according  to  his  nephew's  testimony;  and  the 
note  reached  Mrs.  Minaf er  before  Georgie  did.  When 
he  got  home  she  read  it  to  him  sorrowfully. 

Deab  Madam: 

Your  son  has  caused  a  painful  distress  in  my  household.    He 
made  an  unprovoked  attack  upon  a  little  nephew  of  mine  who  ia 


visiting  in  my  household,  insulted  him  by  calling  him  viciouB 
names  and  falsehoods,  stating  that  ladies  of  his  family  were  in 
jmI.  He  then  tried  to  make  his  pony  kick  him,  and  when  the 
child,  who  is  only  eleven  years  old,  while  your  son  is  much  older 
and  stronger,  endeavoured  to  avoid  his  indignities  and  withdraw 
quietly,  he  pursued  him  into  the  enclosure  of  my  prop&rty  and 
brutally  assaulted  him.  When  I  appeared  upon  this  scene  he 
deliberately  called  insulting  words  to  me,  concluding  with 
profanity,  such  as  ''go  to  hell,"  which  was  heard  not  only  by  my- 
self but  by  my  wife  and  the  lady  who  lives  next  door.  I  trust 
such  a  state  of  undisciplined  behaviour  may  be  remedied  for  the 
sake  of  the  r^utation  for  propriety,  if  nothing  higher,  of  the 
family  to  which  this  unruly  child  belongs. 

Georgie  had  muttered  various  interruptions,  and 
Jisl  she  concluded  the  reading  he  said :  ^/ 


"Georgie,  you  mustn't  say  *liar.*    Isn't  this  letter 
the  truth?" 

"Well,"  said  Georgie,  yhow  old  am  I?" 

Well,  look  how  he  says  I'm  older  than  a  boy 
eleven  years  old." 

"That's    true,"    said    Isabel.     "He    does.    But 
isn't  some  of  it  true,  Georgie?" 

Georgie  felt  himself  to  be  in  a  diflSculty  here,  and 
he  was  silent. 

"Georgie,  did  yon  say  what  he  says  you  did?'* 



**  Which  one?^' 

"Did  you  tell  him  to — ^to Did  you  say,  *Go 


Georgie  looked  worried  for  a  moment  longer;  then 
he  brightened.  "Listen  here,  mamma;  grandpa 
wouldn't  wipe  his  shoe  on  that  ole  story-teller, 
would  he?" 

"Georgie,  you  mustn't ** 

"I  mean:  none  of  the  Ambersobs  wouldn't  have 
anything  to  do  with  him,  would  they?  He  doesn't 
even  kuQW  youy  does  he,  mamma?" 

"  That  hasn't  anything  to  do  with  it." 

"Yes,  it  has!  I  mean:  none  of  the  Amberson 
family  go  to  see  him,  and  they  never  have  him  come 
in  their  house;  they  wouldn't  ask  him  to,  and  they 
prob'ly  wouldn't  even  let  him." 

"That  isn't  what  we're  talking  about." 

"I  bet,"  said  Georgie  emphatically,  "I  bet  if  he 
wanted  to  see  any  of  'em,  he'd  haf  to  go  around  to 
the  side  door!" 
No,  dear,  they- 

«vr^    j^. J.1 99 

Yes,  they  would,  mamma!  So  what  does  it 
matter  if  I  did  say  somep'm'  to  him  he  didn't  hke? 
That  kind  o'  people,  I  don't  see  why  you  can't  say 
anything  you  want  to,  to  'em!" 


"No,  Georgie.  And  you  haven't  answered  me 
whether  you  said  that  dreadful  thing  he  says  you 

"  Wdl ''  said  Georgie.    "  Anyway,  he  said  some- 

p'm'  to  me  that  made  me  mad.''  And  upon  this 
point  he  offered  no  further  details;  he  would  not  ex- 
plain to  his  mother  that  what  had  made  him  ^"mad" 
was  Mr.  Smith's  hasty  condemnation  of  herself: 
"Your  mother  ought  to  be  ashamed,"  and,   "A 

woman  that  lets  a  bad  boy  like  you "  Georgie  did 

not  even  consider  excusing  himself  by  quoting  these 

Isabel  stroked  his  head.  "They  were  tCTrible 
words  for  you  to  use,  dear.  From  his  letter  he 
doesn't  seem  a  very  tactful  person,  but " 

"He's  just  riffraff,"  said  Georgie. 

"You  mustn't  say  so,"  his  mother  gently  agreed 
"Where  did  you  learn  those  bad  words  he  speaks 
of?    Where  did  you  hear  any  oiie  use  them?  " 

"Well,  I've  heard  'em  serreval  places.  I  guess 
Uncle  George  Amberson  was  the  first  I  ever  heard 
say  'em.  Uncle  George  Amberson  said  'em  to  papa 
once.  Papa  didn't  like  it,  but  Unde  George  was 
just  laughin'  at  papa,  an'  then  h«  said  'em  while  he 
was  laughin'." 



"That  was  wrong  of  him,"  she  said,  but  almost 
instinctively  he  detected  the  lack  of  conviction  in  her 
tone.  It  was  Isabel's  great  failing  that  whatever 
an  Amberson  did  seemed  right  to  her,  especially  if 
the  Amberson  was  either  her  brother  George,  or  her 
son  George.  She  knew  that  she  should  be  more 
severe  with  the  latter  now,  but  severity  with  him 
was  beyond  her  power;  and  the  Rev^end  Malloch 
Smith  had  succeeded  only  in  rousing  her  resentment 
against  himself.  Georgie's  symmetrical  face — al- 
together an  Amberson  face — ^had  looked  never  more 
beautiful  to  her.  It  always  looked  imusually  beau- 
tiful when  she  tried  to  be  severe  with  him.  "You 
must  promise  me,"  she  said  feebly,  "never  to  use 
those  bad  words  again." 

"I  promise  not  to,"  he  said  promptly — ^and  ht 
whispered  an  immediate  codicil  under  his  breath: 
**  Unless  I  get  mad  at  somebody !"  This  satisfied  a 
code  according  to  which,  in  his  own  sincere  belief, 
he  never  told  Kes. 

"That's  a  good  boy,"  she  said,  and  he  ran  out  to 
the  yard,  his  punishment  over.  Some  admiring 
friends  were  gathered  there;  they  had  heard  of  his 
adventure,  knew  of  the  note,  and  were  waiting  to  see 
what  was  going  to  "happen"  to  him.     They  hoped 


for  an  account  of  things,  and  also  that  he  would 
allow  them  to  "take  turns''  riding  his  pony  to  the 
end  of  the  alley  and  back. 

They  were  really  his  henchmen:  Georgie  was  a 
lord  among  boys.  In  fact,  he  was  a  personage  among 
certain  sorts  of  grown  people,  and  was  often  fawned 
upon;  the  alley  negroes  delighted  in  him,  chuckled 
over  him,  flattered  him  slavishly.  For  that  matter, 
he  often  heard  well-dressed  people  speaking  of  him 
admiringly:  a  group  of  ladies  once  gathered  about, 
him  on  the  pavement  where  he  was  spinning  a  top. 
"I  know  this  is  Georgie!"  one  exclaimed,  and  turned 
to  the  others  with  the  impressiveness  of  a  showman. 
"Major  Amberson's  only  grandchild!"  The  others 
said,  "It  i^F"  and  made  cUddng  sounds  with  their 
mouths;  two  of  them  loudly  whispering,  "So  hand^ 

Georgie,  annoyed  because  they  kept  standing 
upon  the  circle  he  had  chalked  for  his  top,  looked  at 
them  coldly  and  offered  a  suggestion: 

"Oh,  go  hire  a  hall!" 

As  an  Amberson,  he  was  already  a  public  character, 
and  the  story  of  his  adventure  in  the  Reverend 
Malloch  Smith's  front  yard  became  a  town  topic. 
Many  people  glanced  at  him  with  great  distastCt 


thereafter,  when  they  chanced  to  encounter  him, 
which  meant  nothing  to  Georgie,  because  he  inno- 
cently believed  most  grown  people  to  be  necessarily 
cross-looking  as  a  normal  phenomenon  resulting 
from  the  adult  state;  and  he  failed  to  comprehend 
that  the  distasteful  glances  had  any  personal  bearing 
upon  himself.  If  he  had  perceived  such  a  bearing, 
he  would  have  been  affected  only  so  far,  probably,  as 
to  mutter,  "Riflfraff!*'  Possibly  he  would  have 
shouted  it;  and,  certainly,  most  people  believed  a 
story  that  went  round  the  town  just  after  Mrs, 
Amberson's  funeral,  when  Georgie  was  eleven. 
Georgie  was  reported  to  have  diflPered  with  the  under- 
taker about  the  seating  of  the  family;  his  indignant 
voice  had  become  audible:  "Well,  who  is  the  most 
important  person  at  my  own  grandmother's  fun- 
eral?" And  later  he  had  projected  his  head  from 
the  window  of  the  foremost  mourners'  carriage*  as 
the  undertaker  happened  to  pass. 

'' Riffraff  r 

There  were  people — ^grown  people  they  were — ^who 
expressed  themselves  longingly:  they  did  hope  to  live 
to  see  the  day,  they  said,  when  that  boy  would  get 
his  come-upance!  (They  used  that  honest  word,  so 
much  better  than  "deserts,''  and  not  until  many 

.  I 


years  later  to  be  more  clumsily  rendered  as  "what 
is  coming  to  him.")  Something  was  bound  to  take 
him  down,  some  day,  and  they  only  wanted  to  be 
there!  But  Georgie  heard  nothing  of  this,  and  the 
yeamers  ior  his  taking  down  went  unsatisfied,  while 
their  yearning  grew  the  greater  as  the  happy  day 
of  fulfilment  was  longer  and  Ic^nger  postponed.  His 
grandeur  was  not  diminished  by  the  Malloch  Smith 
story;  the  rather  it  was  increased,  and  among  other 
children  (especially  among  little  girls)  there  was 
added  to  the  prestige  of  his  gilded  position  that  dia- 
bolical glamour  which  must  inevitably  attend. a  boy 
who  has  told  a  minister  to  go  to  hell. 


UNTIL  he  reached  the  age  of  twelve, 
Georgie's  education  was  a  domestic  proc- 
ess; tutors  came  to  the  house;  and  those 
citizens  who  yearned  for  his  taking  down  often  said : 
^^Just  wait  till  he  has  to  go  to  pubUc  school;  then 
he'll  get  it!'*  But  at  twelve  Georgie  was  sent  to  a 
private  school  in  the  town,  and  there  came  from  this 
small  and  dependent  institution  no  report,  or  ev^i 
rumour,  of  Georgie's  getting  anything  that  he  was 
thought  to  deserve;  therefore  the  yearning  still 
persisted,  though  growing  gaunt  with  feeding  upon 
itself.  For,  although  Georgie's  pomposities  and 
impudence  in  the  little  school  were  often  almost 
unbearable,  the  teachers  were  fascinated  by  him. 
They  did  not  like  him — ^he  was  too  arrogant  for  that — 
but  he  kept  them  in  such  a  state  of  emotion  that 
they  thought  more  about  him  than  they  did  about 
all  of  the  other  ten  pupils.  The  emotion  he  kept  them 
in  was  usually  one  resulting  from  injured  self- 
respect,  but  sometimes  it  was  dazzled  admiration. 



So  far  as  their  conscientious  observation  went,  he 
^^ studied"  his  lessons  sparingly;  but  sometimes,  in 
class,  he  flashed  an  admirable  answer,  with  a  com- 
prehension not  often  shown  by  the  pupils  they 
taught;  and  he  passed  his  examinations  easily.  In 
all,  without  discernible  effort,  he  acquired  at  this 
school  some  rudiments  of  a  liberal  education  and 
learned  nothing  whatever  about  himself. 

The  yeamers  were  stiU  yearning  when  Georgie, 
at  sixteen,  was  sent  away  to  a  great  "Prep  School." 
"Now,"  they  said  brightly,  "he'll  get  it!  He'U  find 
himself  among  boys  just  as  important  in  their  home 
towns  as  he  is,  and  they'll  knock  the  stuffing  out  of 
him  when  he  puts  on  his  airs  with  them!  Oh,  but 
that  would  be  worth  something  to  see!"  They  were 
mistaken,  it  appeared,  for  when  Georgie  returned,  a 
few  months  later,  he  still  seemed  to  have  the  same 
stuffing.  He  had  been  deported  by  the  authorities^ 
the  offense  being  stated  as  "insolence  and  profanity"; 
in  fact,  he  had  given  the  principal  of  the  school  in- 
structions almost  identical  with  those  formerly  ob- 
jected to  by  the  Reverend  Malloch  Smith. 

But  he  had  not  got  his  come-upance,  and  those 
who  counted  upon  it  were  embittered  by  his  appear^ 
ance  upon  the  down-town  streets  driving  a  dog-cart 


at  a  criminal  speed,  making  pedestrians  retreat  from 
the  crossings,  and  behaving  generally  as  if  he  ^' owned 
the  earth.  *'  A  disgusted  hardware  deala*  of  middle 
age,  one  of  those  who  hungered  for  Georgie's  down- 
fall, was  thus  driven  back  upon  the  sidewalk  to  avoid 
being  run  over,  and  so  far  forgot  himself  as  to  make 
use  of  the  pet  street  insult  of  the  year:  "Got  *ny 
sense!  See  here,  bub,  does  your  mother  know  you're 

Greorgie,  without  even  seeming  to  look  at  him, 
flicked  the  long  lash  of  his  whip  dexterously,  and  a 
little  spurt  of  dust  came  from  the  hardware  man's 
trousers,  not  far  below  the  waist.  He  was  not  made 
of  hardware:  he  raved,  looking  for  a  missile;  then, 
finding  none,  commanded  himself  sufficiently  to  shout 
after  the  rapid  dog-cart:  "Turn  down  your  pants» 
you  would-be  dude!  Raining  in  dear  ole  Lunnon! 
Git  oflF  the  earth!" 

Georgie  gave  him  no  encouragement  to  think  that 
he  was  heard.  The  dog-cart  turned  the  next  comer, 
causing  indignation  there,  likewise,  and,  having  pro* 
ceeded  some  distance  farther,  halted  in  front  of  the 
"Amberson  Block" — an  old-fashioned  four-story 
brick  warren  of  lawyers'  offices,  insurance  and  real- 
estate  offices,  with  a  "drygoods  store"  occupying  the 


ground  floor.  Georgie  tied  his  lathered  trotter  to  a 
telegraph  pole,  and  stood  for  a  moment  looking  at  the 
building  critically :  it  seemed  shabby,  and  he  thought 
his  grandfather  ought  to  replace  it  with  a  fourteen- 
story  skyscraper,  or  even  a  higher  one,  such  as  he  had 
lately  seen  in  New  York — ^when  he  stopped  there 
for  a  few  days  of  recreation  and  rest  on  his  way  home 
from  the  bereaved  school.  About  the  entryway 
to  the  stairs  were  various  tin  signs,  announcing  the 
occupation  and  location  of  upper-floor  tenants,  and 
'  Georgie  decided  to  take  some  of  these  with  him  if  he 
should  ever  go  to  coU^e.  However,  he  did  not 
stop  to  collect  them  at  this  time,  but  climbed  the 
worn  stairs — ^there  was  no  elevator — to  the  fourtl 
floor,  went  down  a  dark  corridor,  and  rapped  three 
times  upon  a  door.  It  was  a  mysterious  door,  its 
upper  half,  of  opaque  glass,  bearing  no  sign  to  state 
the  business  or  profession  of  the  occupants  within; 
but  overhead,  upon  the  lintel,  four  letters  had  been 
smearingly  inscribed,  partly  with  purple  ink  and 
partly  with  a  soft  lead  pencil,  "F.  O.  T.  A."  and  upon 
the  plaster  wall,  above  the  lintel,  there  was  a  draw- 
ing dear  to  male  adolescence:  a  skull  and  crossbones. 
Three  raps,  similar  to  Georgie^s,  sounded  from 
within  the  room.     Georgie  then  rapped  four  times; 


the  rapper  within  the  room  rapped  twice,  and  Georgie 
rapped  seven  times.  This  ended  precautionary 
measures;  and  a  well-dressed  boy  of  sixteen  opened 
the  door;  whereupon  Georgie  entered  quickly,  and 
the  door  was  closed  behind  him.  Seven  boys  of 
congenial  age  were  seated  in  a  semicircular  row  of 
damaged  office  chairs,  facing  a  platform  whereon 
stood  a  solemn,  red-haired  young  personage  with  a 
table  before  him.  At  one  end  of  the  room  there 
was  a  battered  sideboard,  and  upon  it  were  some 
empty  beer  bottles,  a  tobacco  can  about  two-thirds 
full,  with  a  web  of  mold  over  the  surface  of  the 
tobacco,  a  dusty  cabinet  photograph  (not  inscribed) 
of  Miss  Lillian  Russell,  several  withered  old  pickles, 
a  caseknife,  and  a  half -petrified  section  of  icing-cake 
on  a  sooty  plate.  At  the  other  end  of  the  room  were 
two  rickety  card-tables  and  a  stand  of  bookshelves 
where  were  displayed  under  dust  four  or  five  small  vol- 
umes of  M.  Guy  de  Maupassant's  stories,  ^^  Robinson 
Crusoe,"  "Sappho,"  "Mr.  Barnes  of  New  York,"  a 
work  by  Giovanni  Boccaccio,  a  Bible,  "  The  Arabian 
Nights'  Entertainment,"  "Studies  of  the  Human 
Form  Divine,"  "  The  Little  Minister,"  and  a  clutter  of 
monthly  magazines  and  illustrated  weeklies  of  about 
that  crispness  one  finds  in  such  articles  upon  a  doc- 


tor's  ante-room  table.  Upon  the  wall»  above  the 
sideboard,  was  an  old  framed  lithograph  of  Miss  Delia 
Fox  in  "Wang";  over  the  bookshelves  there  was  an- 
other lithograph  purporting  to  represent  Mr.  John 
L.  Sullivan  in  a  boxing  costume,  and  beside  it  a  half- 
tone reproduction  of  "A  Reading  From  Homer/' 
The  final  decoration  consisted  of  damaged  papier- 
mache — ^a  round  shield  with  two  battle-axes  and  two 
cross-hilted  swords,  upon  the  wall  over  the  little  plat- 
form where  stood  the  red-haired  presiding  officer. 
He  addressed  Georgie  in  a  serious  voice: 

"Welcome,  Friend  of  the  Ace/* 

"  Welcome,  Friend  of  the  Ace,"  Georgie  responded, 
and  all  of  the  other  boys  repeated  the  words,  "Wel- 
come, Friend  of  the  Ace/' 

"Take  your  seat  in  the  secret  semicircle,"  said  the 
presiding  officer.     "We  will  now  proceed  to " 

But  Georgie  was  disposed  to  be  informal.  He 
interrupted,  turning  to  the  boy  who  had  admitted 
him:  "Look  here,  Charlie  Johnson,  what's  Fred 
Kinney  doing  in  the  president's  chair?  That's  my 
place,  isn't  it?  What  you  men  been  up  to  here, 
anyhow?  Didn't  you  all  agree  I  was  to  be  president 
just  the  same,  even  if  I  was  away  at  school?" 

"  Well "  said  Charlie  Johnson  uneasily.     "  lis- 

IT  A^ 



mSONS       49 

^e  Ace  were 

jN    /^ted  his 

^  '^'^  home 

^    >ional 

Mr.  Kinney,  p.  ^^e^ 


*oom  acro^ 
He  George 
Nt  a  new 


a  gavel,  and  conside^^o^ 
War  relic  known  as  ^        ^ 
loudly  for  order.     "Al^f^.^^•^ 
their  seats!"  he  said  sharpT  ^^ 
F.  O.  T.  A.  now,  George  MinK.j^^ 
get  it !    You  and  Charlie  Johnst'Ci^^ 
I  was  elected  perfectly  fair,  and  we^ 
meeting  here." 

"Oh,  you  are,  are  you?"  said  George  s. 

Charlie  Johnson  thought  to  mollify  him 
didn't  we  call  this  meeting  just  especially  beck**  .j^^  /a 
told  us  to?  You  said  yourself  we  ought  to  have  a 
kind  of  celebration  because  you've  got  back  to  town, 
Greorge,  and  that's  what  we're  here  for  now,  and 
everything.  What  do  you  care  about  being  presi- 
dent? All  it  amounts  to  is  just  calling  the  roll 
and " 

The  president  de  facto  hammered  the  table.     "  This 
meeting  will  now  proceed  to " 




No,  it  won't,"  said  George,  and  he  advanced  to 


tor's  ante-room  table,  ^emptuously.     "Get  off  thai 

sideboard,  was  an  old  frr 

Fox  in  "Wang";  over;^^^  ^^  ^^^^j..     ^  Finney 

other  lithograph  puf 

L.  SuUivan  in  a  bo7^    ^j^^^    ^^^^1 ,,    ^^y     (j^^^^ 

tone  reproductio  J  ij^e  to  know?    It  belongs  to  my 

The  final  deco  ^  y^^  ^^^  hammering  it  that  way  or 

mache— a  ror     ^ j  yj^  ^^^^  ^^  j^^j^  y^^^  j^^^j  ^gP  » 

cross-hilted    ^^^g  ^jji  ^^^^  ^^  ^^j^^ !     j  ^^  i^^^jjy 
form  whr     ^  ^j  y^  ^^^  g^j^g  ^  l^^  bulldozed! '' 
He  add     ^i^t»   g^j   Georgie.     "You're   president 
^      il  hold  another  election." 

will  not!"  Fred  Kinney  shouted.  "We'll 
^  ur  reg'lar  meeting,  and  then  we'll  play  euchre  & 
^      la  comer,  what  we're  here  for.     This  meeting 

^\^  now  come  to  ord " 

Georgie  addressed  the  members.  "I'd  like  to 
know  who  got  up  this  thing  in  the  first  place,"  he  said. 
"Who's  the  founder  of  the  F.O.T.A.,  if  you  please? 
Who  got  this  room  rent  free?  Who  got  the  janitor 
to  let  us  have  most  of  this  furniture?  You  suppose 
you  could  keep  this  clubroom  a  minute  if  I  told  my 
grandfather  I  didn't  want  it  for  a  Uterary  club  any 
more?  I'd  like  to  say  a  word  on  how  you  members 
been  acting,  too !    When  I  went  away  I  said  I  didn't 



THE  MAGNIFICENT  A^         ALISONS       49 

care  if  you  had  a  t^-president^  ^     S^e  Ace  were 

was  gone,  but  here  I  hardly  t/^  ^     >y    -^vited  his 

had  to  go  and  elect  Fred  y  ^  ^>e  home 

if  that's  what  you  want,  yo.  c^    ^jonal 

ing  to  have  a  little  celebration  clt> .  ^ 

pretty  soon,  and  bring  some  port  wine, .  xt 

at  school  in  our  crowd  there,  and  I  was  goiiifc,  . 
my  grandfather  to  give  the  club  an  extra  room  acro^ 
the  hall,  and  prob*ly  I  could  get  my  Uncle  George 
to  give  us  his  old  billiard  table,  because  he's  got  a  new 
one,  and  the  club  could  put  it  in  the  other  room. 
Well,  you  got  a  new  president  now!'*  Here  Georgie 
moved  toward  the  door  and  his  tone  became  plain- 
tive, though  undeniably  there  was  disdain  beneath 
his  sorrow.     "I  guess  all  I  better  do  is — resign!" 

And  he  opened  the  door,  apparently  intending  to 

"All  in  favour  of  having  a  new  election,"  Charlie 
Johnson  shouted  hastily,  "say,  *Aye'!" 

"Aye"  was  said  by  everyone  present  except  Mr. 
Kinney,  who  began  a  hot  protest,  but  it  was  im- 
mediately smothered. 

"All  in  favour  of  me  being  president  instead  of 
Fred  Kinney,"  shouted  Georgie,  "say  *Aye.*  The 
'Ayes'  have  it!" 


tor's  ante-'*'^»  *  ^^  *^^  red-he4ded  boy,  gulping  as  he 
sideboarc'^^  from  the  platform.     "I  resign  from  the 

Fox  in  ' 

other-^^t-^y^'  ^^  *^™d  his  hat  and  departed,  jeers 

j^  echoing  alter  him  as  he  plunged  down  the  corridor. 

^  Georgie  stepped  upon  the  platform,  and  took  up  the 
emblem  of  office. 

"Ole  red-head  Fred*ll  be  around  next  week,"  said 
the  new  chairman.  "  He'll  be  around  boot-lickin'  to 
get  us  to  take  him  back  in.  again,  but  I  guess  we  don't 
want  him:  that  fellow  always  was  a  trouble-maker. 
We  will  now  proceed  with  our  meeting.  Well, 
fellows,  I  suppose  you  want  to  hear  from  your  presi- 
dent.  I  don't  know  that  I  have  much  to  say,  as  I 
have  already  seen  most  of  you  a  few  times  since  J 
got  back.  I  had  a  good  time  at  the  old  school,  back 
East,  but  had  a  little  trouble  with  the  faculty  and 
came  on  home.  My  family  stood  by  me  as  well  as  I 
could  ask,  and  I  expect  to  stay  right  here  in  the 
old  town  until  whenever  I  decide  to  enter  college. 
Now,  I  don't  suppose  there's  any  more  business 
before  the  meeting.  I  guess  we  might  as  well  play 
cards.  Anybody  that's  game  for  a  little  quarter- 
limit  poker  or  any  limit  they  say,  why  I'd  like  to  'em  sit  at  the  president's  card-table." 


When  the  diversions  of  the  Friends  of  the  Ace  were 
concluded  for  that  afternoon,  Georgie  invited  his 
chief  supporter,  Mr.  Charlie  Johnson,  to  drive  home 
with  him  to  dinner,  and  as  they  jingled  up  National 
Avenue  in  the  dog-cart,  Charlie  asked : 

^^What  sort  of  men  did  you  nm  up  against  at  that 
school,  George?'* 

"Best  crowd  there:  finest  set  of  men  I  ever  met." 

"How'd  you  get  in  with  'em?" 

Georgie  laughed.  "I  let  them  get  in  with  me^ 
Charlie,"  he  said  in  a  tone  of  gentle  explanation. 
"It's  vulgar  to  do  any  other  way.  Did  I  tell  you 
the  nickname  they  gave  me— *King'?  That  was 
what  they  called  me  at  that  school,  *King  Minafer."* 

"How'd  they  happen  to  do  that?"  his  friend  asked 

"Oh,  different  things,"  George  answered  lightly. 
"Of  course,  any  of  'em  that  came  from  anywhere 
out  in  this  part  the  country  knew  about  the  family 
and  all  that,  and  so  I  suppose  it  was  a  good  deal  on 
account  of — oh,  on  account  of  the  family  and  the 
way  I  do  things,  most  likely." 


"W  'W  THEN  Mr,  George  Amberson  Minafer  came 
%/%/  home  for  the  holidays  at  Christmastide,  in 
^  ^  his  sophomore  year,  probably  no  great 
change  had  taken  place  inside  him,  but  his  exterior 
was  visibly  altered.  Nothing  about  him  encouraged 
any  hope  that  he  had  received  his  come-upance;  on 
the  contrary,  the  yeamers  for  that  stroke  of  justice 
must  yearn  even  more  itchingly:  the  gilded  youth's 
manner  had  become  polite,  but  his  politeness  was 
of  a  kind  which  democratic  people  found  hard  to 
bear.  In  a  word,  M.  le  Due  had  returned  from  the 
gay  life  of  the  capital  to  show  himself  for  a  week 
among  the  loyal  peasants  belonging  to  the  old 
chateau,  and  their  quaint  habits  and  costmnes  af- 
forded him  a  mild  amusement. 

Cards  were  out  for  a  ball  in  his  honour,  and  this 
pageant  of  the  tenantry  was  held  in  the  ballroom 
of  the  Amberson  Mansion  the  night  after  his  arrival. 
It  was,  as  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin  Foster  said  of  Isabel's 
wedding,  "a  big  Amberson -style  thing,"  though  that 



wise  Mrs.  Henry  Franklin  Foster  had  long  ago  gone 
the  way  of  all  wisdom,  having  stepped  out  of  the 
Midland  town,  unquestionably  into  heaven — ^a  long 
step,  but  not  beyond  her  powers.  She  had  suc- 
cessors, but  no  successor;  the  town  having  grown  too 
large  to  confess  that  it  was  intellectually  led  and  lit- 
erarily  authoritated  by  one  person;  and  some  of  these 
successors  were  not  invited  to  the  ball,  for  dimensions 
were  now  so  metropolitan  that  intellectual  leaders 
and  Uterary  authorities  loomed  in  outlying  regions 
unfamiliar  to  the  Ambersons.  However,  all  ^^old 
citizens"  recognizable  as  gentry  received  cards,  and 
of  course  so  did  their  dancing  descendants. 

The  orchestra  and  the  caterer  were  brought  from 
away,  in  the  Amberson  manner,  though  this  was 
really  a  gesture — ^perhaps  one  more  of  habit  than  of 
ostentation — ^for  servitors  of  gaiety  as  proficient  as 
these  importations  were  nowadays  to  be  found  in 
the  town.  Even  flowers  and  plants  and  roped  vines 
were  brought  from  afar — ^not,  however,  until  the 
stock  of  the  local  florists  proved  insufficient  to  oblit- 
erate the  interior  structure  of  the  big  house,  in  the 
Amberson  way.  It  was  the  last  of  the  great,  long- 
remembered  dances  that  "everybody  talked  about'' 
— ^there  were  getting  to  be  so  many  people  in  town 


that  no  later  than  the  next  year  there  were  too 
many  for  "everybody"  to  hear  of  even  such  a  ball 
as  the  Ambersons*. 

George,  white-gloved,  with  a  gardenia  in  his  but- 
tonhole,  stood  with  his  mother  and  the  Major,  em* 
bowered  in  the  big  red  and  gold  drawing  room  down- 
stairs, to  "receive"  the  guests;  and,  standing  thus 
together,  the  trio  offered  a  picturesque  example  of 
good  looks  persistent  through  three  generations. 
The  Major,  his  daughter,  and  his  grandson  were  of 
a  type  all  Amberson:  tall,  straight,  and  regular, 
with  dark  eyes,  short  noses,  good  chins;  and  the 
grandfather's  expression,  no  less  than  the  grand** 
son's,  was  one  of  faintly  amused  condescension* 
There  was  a  difference,  however.  The  grandson's 
mdined  young  face  had  nothing  to  offer  except  this 
condescension;  the  grandfather's  had  other  things 
to  say.  It  was  a  handsome,  worldly  old  face,  con- 
scious of  its  importance,  but  persuasive  rather  than 
arrogant,  and  not  without  tokens  of  sufferings  with- 
stood. The  Major's  short  white  hair  was  parted  in 
the  middle,  like  his  grandson's^  and  in  all  he  stood 
as  briskly  equipped  to  the  fashion  as  exquisite  young 

Isabel,  standing  between  her  father  and  her  son, 


loused  a  vague  amazement  in  the  mind  of  the  latter. 
Her  age,  just  under  forty,  was  for  George  a  thought 
of  something  as  remote  as  the  moons  of  Jupiter:  he 
could  not  possibly  have  conceived  such  an  age  ever 
coming  to  be  his  own:  five  years  was  the  limit  of  his 
thinking  in  time.  Five  years  ago  he  had  been  a  child 
not  yet  fourteen;  and  those  five  years  were  an  abyss. 
Five  years  hence  he  would  be  almost  twenty-fourj 
what  the  girls  he  knew  called  "one  of  the  older  men." 
He  could  imagine  himself  at  twenty-four,  but  be- 
yond that,  his  powers  staggered  and  refused  the  task. 
He  saw  little  essential  difference  between  thirty-eight 
and  eighty-eight,  and  his  mother  was  to  him  not  a 
woman  but  wholly  a  mother.  He  had  no  perception 
of  her  other  than  as  an  adjunct  to  himself,  his 
mother;  nor  could  he  imagine  her  thinking  or  doing 
uything — ^falling  in  love,  walking  with  a  friend,  or 
reading  a  book — ^as  a  woman,  and  not  as  his  mother. 
The  woman,  Isabel,  was  a  stranger  to  her  son;  as 
completely  a  stranger  as  if  he  had  never  in  his  life 
seen  her  or  heard  her  voice.  And  it  was  to-night, 
while  he  stood  with  her,  "receiving,"  that  he  caught 
a  disquieting  glimpse  of  this  stranger  whom  he  thus 
fleetingly  encountered  for  the  first  time. 
Youth  cannot  imagine  romance  apart  from  vouth«. 


That  is  why  the  rdles  of  the  heroes  and  heroines  of 
plays  are  given  by  the  managers  to  the  most  youth- 
ful actors  they  can  find  among  the  competent.  Both 
middle-aged  people  and  young  people  enjoy  a  play 
about  young  lovers;  but  only  middle-aged  people  will 
tolerate  a  play  about  middle-aged  lovers;  youngpeople 
will  not  come  to  see  such  a  play,  because,  for  them, 
middle-aged  lovers  are  a  joke — ^not  a  very  ftmny  one. 
Therefore,  to  bring  both  the  middle-aged  people  and 
the  young  people  into  his  house,  the  manager  makes 
his  romance  as  young  as  he  can.  Youth  will  indeed' 
be  served,  and  its  profound  instinct  is  to  be  not  only 
scornfully  amused  but  vaguely  angered  by  middle- 
age  romance.  So,  standing  beside  his  mother, 
Greorge  was  disturbed  by  a  sudden  impression,  com- 
ing upon  him  out  of  nowhere,  so  far  as  he  could  detect, 
that  her  eyes  were  brilliant,  that  she  was  graceful 
and  youthful — in  a  word,  that  she  was  romantically 

He  had  one  of  those  curious  moments  that  seem 
to  have  neither  a  cause  nor  any  connection  with 
actual  things.  While  it  lasted,  he  was  disquieted 
not  by  thoughts — ^for  he  had  no  definite  thoughts — 
but  by  a  slight  emotion  like  that  caused  in  a  dream 
jby  the  presence  of  something  invisible,  soundless. 



snd  yet  fantastic.  There  was  notliiiig  difiFerent  or 
new  about  his  mother,  except  her  new  black  and 
silver  dress:  she  was  standing  there  beside  him, 
bending  her  head  a  little  in  her  greetings,  smiling  the 
same  smile  she  had  worn  for  the  half-hour  that 
people  had  been  passing  the  "receiving"  group. 
Her  face  was  flushed,  but  the  room  was  warm;  and 
shaking  hands  with  so  many  people  easily  accounted 
for  the  pretty  glow  that  was  upon  her.  At  any  time 
she  could  have  "passed"  for  twenty-five  or  twenty- 
six — ^a  man  of  fifty  would  have  honestly  guessed  her 
to  be  about  thirty  but  possibly  two  or  three  years 
younger- and  though  extraordinary  in  this,  she  had 
been  extraordinary  m  it  for  years.  Tha'e  was  noth- 
ing  in  either  her  looks  or  her  mamier  to  explain 
George's  imcomfortable  feeling;  and  yet  it  increased, 
becoming  suddenly  a  vague  resentment,  as  if  she  had 
done  something  unmotherly  to  him. 

The  fantastic  moment  passed;  and  even  while  it 
lasted,  he  was  doing  his  duty,  greeting  two  pretty 
girls  with  whom  he  had  grown  up,  as  people  say,  and 
warmly  assuring  them  that  he  remembered  them 
very  well — ^an  assurance  which  might  have  surprised 
them  "in  anybody  but  Georgie  Minafer!"  It 
seemed  unnecessary,  since  he  had  spent  many  hours 


with  them  no  longer  ago  than  the  preceding  Augusfc* 
They  had  with  them  their  parents  and  an  wide  from 
out  of  town;  and  George  negligently  gave  the  par- 
ents the  same  assurance  he  had  given  the  daughters^ 
but  murmured  another  form  of  greeting  to  the  out* 
of-town  uncle,  whom  he  had  never  seen  before. 
This  person  George  absently  took  note  of  as  a  "queer- 
looking  duck."  Undergraduates  had  not  yet 
adopted  "bird."  It  was  a  period  previous  to  that 
in  which  a  sophomore  would  have  thought  of  the 
Sharon  girls*  uncle  as  a  "queer-looking  bird,"  or, 
perhaps  a  "funny-face  bird."  In  George's  time, 
every  human  male  was  to  be  defined,  at  pleasure,  as 
a  "duck";  but  "duck"  was  not  spoken  with  admir- 
ing affection,  as  m  its  former  feminine  use  to  signify 
a  "dear" — on  the  contrary,  "duck"  implied  the 
speaker's  personal  detachment  and  humorous  supe- 
riority. An  indifferent  amusement  was  what 
George  felt  when  his  mother,  with  a  gentle  empha- 
sis, interrupted  his  interchange  of  courtesies  witk 
the  nieces  to  present  him  to  the  queer-looking  duck, 
their  uncle.  This  emphasis  of  Isabel's,  though 
slight,  enabled  George  to  perceive  that  she  consid- 
ered the  queer-looking  duck  a  person  of  some  impor- 
tance; but  it  was  far  from  enabling  him  to  under* 


stand  why.  The  duck  parted  his  thick  and  longish 
black  hair  on  the  side;  his  tie  was  a  forgetful  looking 
thing,  and  his  coat,  though  it  fitted  a  good  enough 
middle-aged  figure,  no  product  of  this  year,  or  of 
last  year  either.  One  of  his  eyebrows  was  Notice- 
ably higher  than  the  other;  and  there  were  whimsical 
lines  between  them,  which  gave  him  an  apprehensive 
expression;  but  his  apprehensions  were  evidently 
more  humorous  than  profound,  for  his  prevailing 
look  was  that  of  a  genial  man  of  affairs,  not  much 
afraid  of  anything  whatever.  Nevertheless,  observ- 
ing only  his  ^unfashionable  hair,  his  eyebrows,  his 
preoccupied  tie  and  his  old  coat,  the  Olympic  George 
set  him  down  as  a  queer-looking  duck,  and  having 
thus  completed  his  portrait,  took  no  interest  in 

The  Sharon  girls  passed  on,  taking  the  queer- 
looking  duck  with  them,  and  George  became  pink 
with  mortification  as  his  mother  called  his  attention 
to  a  white-bearded  guest  waiting  to  shake  his  hand. 
This  was  George's  great-uncle,  old  John  Minafer: 
it  was  old  John's  boast  that  in  spite  of  his  connection 
by  marriage  with  the  Ambersons,  he  never  had  worn 
and  never  would  wear  a  swaller-tail  coat.  Members 
nf  his  family  had  exerted  their  influence  uselessly— 


at  eighty-nine  conservative  people  seldom  form 
radical  new  habits,  and  old  John  wore  his  *' Sunday 
suit"  of  black  broadcloth  to  the  Amberson  ball. 
The  coat  was  square,  with  skirts  to  the  knees;  old 
John  called  it  a  "Prince  Albert"  and  was  well 
enough  pleased  with  it,  but  his  great-nephew  con- 
sidered it  the  next  thing  to  an  insult.  George's  pur- 
pose had  been  to  ignore  the  man,  but  he  had  to  take 
his  hand  for  a  moment;  whereupon  old  John  began 
to  tell  George  that  he  was  looking  well,  though  there 
had  been  a  time,  during  his  fourth  month,  when  he 
was  so  puny  that  nobody  thought  he  would  live. 
The  great-nephew,  in  a  fury  of  blushes,  dropped  old 
John's  hand  with  some  vigour,  and  seized  that  of  the 
next  person  in  the  line.  "'Member  you  v'ry  well 
'ndeed!"  he  said  fiercely. 

The  large  room  had  filled,  and  so  had  the  broad 
hall  and  the  rooms  on  the  other  side  of  the  hall, 
where  there  were  tables  for  whist.  The  imported 
orchestra  waited  in  the  ballroom  on  the  third 
floor,  but  a  local  harp,  'cello,  violin,  and  flute  were 
playing  airs  from  "The  Fencing  Master"  in  the  hall, 
and  people  were  shouting  over  the  music.  Old 
John  Minafer's  voice  was  louder  and  more  pene- 
trating than  any  other,  because  he  had  been  troubled 


with  deafness  for  twenty-five  years,  heard  his  own 
voice  but  faintly,  and  liked  to  hear  it.  "Smell  o* 
flowers  like  this  always  puts  me  in  mind  o'  funer- 
als," he  kept  telling  his  niece,  Fanny  *Minafer,  who 
was  with  him;  and  he  seemed  to  get  a  great  deal  of 
satisfaction  out  of  this  reminder.  His  tremulous  yet 
strident  voice  cut  through  the  voluminous  sound 
that  filled  the  room,  and  he  was  heard  everywhere: 
^'Always  got  to  think  o'  funerals  when  I  smell  so 
many  flowers!"  And,  as  the  pressure  of  people 
forced  Fanny  and  himself  against  the  white  marble 
mantelpiece,  he  pursued  this  train  of  cheery  thought,, 
shouting,  "Right  here's  where  the  Major's  wife  was 
laid  out  at  her  funeral.  They  had  her  in  a  good  light 
from  that  big  bow  window."  He  paused  to  chuckle 
mournfully.  "I  s'pose  that's  where  they'll  put  the 
Major  when  his  time  comes." 

Presently  George's  mortification  was  increased 
to  hear  this  sawmill  droning  harshly  from  the  midst 
of  the  thickening  crowd:  "Ain't  the  dancin'  broke 
out  yet,  Fanny?  Hoopla!  Le's  push  through  and 
go  see  the  young  women-folks  crack  their  heeLsr! 
Start  the  circus!  Hoopse-daisy ! "  Miss  Fanny 
Minafer,  in  charge  of  the  lively  veteran,  was  almost 
as  distressed  as  her  nephew  George,  but  she  did  her 


duty  and  managed  to  get  old  John  through  the  press 
and  out  to  the  broad  stairway,  which  numbers  of 
young  people  were  now  ascending  to  the  ballroom. 
And  here  the  -sawmill  voice  still  rose  over  all  others : 
"Solid  black  walnut  every  inch  of  it,  balustrades  and 
all.  Sixty  thousand  dollars'  worth  o'  carved  wood- 
work in  the  house!  Like .  water!  Spent  money 
like  water!  Always  did!  Still  do!  Like  water! 
God  knows  where  it  all  comes  from!" 

He  continued  the  ascent,  barking  and  coughing 
among  the  gleaming  young  heads,  white  shoulders, 
jewels,  and  chiffon,  like  an  old  dog  slowly  swinuning 
up  the  rapids  of  a  sparkling  river;  while  down  below, 
in  the  drawing  room,  George  began  to  recover  from 
the  degradation  into  which  this  reUc  of  early  settler 
days  had  dragged  him.  What  restored  him  com- 
pletely was  a  dark-eyed  little  beauty  of  nineteen, 
very  knowing  in  lustrous  blue  and  jet;  at  si^^t  of 
.this  dashing  advent  in  the  line  of  guests  before  him, 
George  was  fully  an  Amberson  again. 

"Remember  you  very  well  indeed T^  he  said,  his 
.grariousness  more  earnest  than  any  he  had  hereto- 
forr  displayed.     Isabel  heard  him  and  laughed. 

"But  you  don't,  George!"  she  said.  "You  don't 
leinember  her  yet,  though  of  course  you  wHl!    Misfi 


Morgan  is  from  out  of  town,  and  I'm  afraid  this  is 
the  first  time  you've  ever  seen  her.  You  might  take 
her  up  to  the  dancing;  I  think  youVe  pretty  well 
done  your  duty  here." 

"Be  d'lighted,"  George  responded  formally,  and 
offered  his  arm,  not  with  a  flourish,  certainly,  but 
with  an  impressiveness  inspired  partly  by  the  appear* 
ance  of  the  person  to  whom  he  offered  it,  partly  by 
his  being  the  hero  of  this  fSte,  and  partly  by  his 
youthf ulness — ^for  when  manners  are  new  they  are 
apt  to  be  elaborate.  The  little  beauty  entrusted  her 
gloved  fingers  to  his  coat-sleeve,  and  they  moved 
away  together. 

Their  progress  was  necessarily  slow,  and  to 
Greorge's  mind  it  did  not  lack  stateliness.  How 
could  it?  Musicians,  hired  especially  for  him,  were 
sitting  in  a  grove  of  pahns  in  the  hall  and  now  ten- 
derly playing  "Oh,  Promise  Me"  for  his  pleasuring; 
dozens  and  scores  of  flowers  had  been  brought  to 
life  and  tended  to  this  hour  that  they  might  sweeten 
the  air  for  him  while  they  died;  and  the  evanescent 
power  that  music  and  floral  scents  hold  over  youth 
stirred  his  appreciation  of  strange,  beautiful  qualities 
within  his  own  bosom:  he  seemed  to  himself  to  be 
iQjrBteriously  angelic,  and  about  to  do  something 


dramatic  which  would  overwhehn  the  beautiful 
young  stranger  upon  his  arm. 

Elderly  people  and  middle-aged  people  moved 
away  to  let  him  pass  with  his  honoured  fair  beside 
him.  Worthy  middle-class  creatures,  they  seemed, 
leading  dull  lives  but  appreciative  of  better  things 
when  they  saw  them — and  George's  bosom  was 
fleetingly  touched  with  a  pitying  kindness.  And 
since  the  primordial  day  when  caste  or  heritage  first 
set  one  person,  in  his  own  esteem,  above  his  fellow- 
beings,  it  is  to  be  doubted  if  anybody  ever  felt  more 
illustrious,  or  more  negligently  grand,  than  George 
Amberson  Minafer  felt  at  this  party. 

As  he  conducted  Miss  Morgan  through  the  hall, 
toward  the  stairway,  they  passed  the  open  double 
doors  of  a  card  room^  where  some  squadrons  of  older 
people  were  preparing  for  action,  and,  leaning  grace- 
fully upon  the  mantelpiece  of  this  room,  a  tall  man, 
handsome,  high-mannered,  and  sparklingly  point- 
device,  held  laughing  converse  with  that  queer- 
looking  duck,  the  Sharon  girls'  uncle.  The  tall 
gentleman  waved  a  gracious  salutation  to  XJeorge, 
and  Miss  Morgan's  curiosity  was  stirred.  "Who  is 

**I  didn't  catch  his  name  when  my  mother  pre- 


sented  him  to  me/'  said  George.  *'You  mean 
the  queer-looking  duck." 

**I  mean  the  aristocratic  duck." 

"That's  my  Uncle  George.  Honourable  George 
Amberson.     I  thought  everybody  knew  him." 

**He  looks  as  though  everybody  ought  to  know 
him,"  she  said.     "It  seems  to  run  in  your  family." 

If  she  had  any  sly  intention,  it  skipped  over 
George  harmlessly.  "Well,  of  course,  I  suppose 
most  everybody  does,"  he  admitted— "  out  in  this 
part  of  the  country  especially.  Besides,  Uncle 
George  is  in  Congress;  the  family  like  to  have  some- 
one there." 


"Well,  it's  sort  of  a  good  thing  in  one  way.  For 
instance,  my  Unde  Sydney  Amberson  and  his  wife. 
Aunt  Amelia,  they  haven't  got  much  of  anything  to 
do  with  themselves — ^get  bored  to  death  around 
here,  of  course.  Well,  probably  Uncle  George'll  have 
Uncle  Sydney  appointed  minister  or  ambassador,  or 
something  like  that,  to  Russia  or  Italy  or  somewhere, 
and  that'll  make  it  pleasant  when  any  of  the  rest  of 
the  family  go  travelling,  or  things  like  that.  I 
expect  to  do  a  good  deal  of  travelling  myself  when 
I  get  out  of  college." 


On  the  stairway  he  pointed  out  this  prospective 
ambassadorial  couple,  Sydney  and  Amelia.  They 
were  coming  down,  fronting  the  ascending  tide,  and 
as  conspicuous  over  it  as  a  king  and  queen  in  a 
play.  Moreover,  as  the  clear-eyed  Miss  Morgan  re- 
marked, the  very  least  they  looked  was  ambassa- 
dorial. Sydney  was  an  Amberson  exaggerated, 
n^ore  pompous  than  gracious;  too  portly,  flushed, 
starched  to  a  shine,  his  stately  jowl  furnished  with 
ail  Edward  the  Seventh  beard.  Amelia,  likewise 
full-bodied,  showed  gUttering  blond  hair  exuber- 
antly dressed;  a  pink,  fat  face  cold  under  a  white- 
hot  tiara;  a  solid,  cold  bosom  under  a  white-hot 
necklace;  great,  cold,  gloved  arms,  and  the  rest  of 
her  beautifully  upholstered.  Amelia  was  an  Amber- 
son  bom,  herself,  Sydney's  second-cousin:  they  had 
no  children,  and  Sydney  was  without  a  business  or 
a  profession;  thus  both  found  a  great  deal  of  time  to 
think  about  the  appropriateness  of  their  beconung 
Excellencies.  And  as  George  ascended  the  broad 
stairway,  they  were  precisely  the  aunt  and  uncle  he 
was  most  pleased  to  point  out,  to  a  girl  from  out  of 
town,  as  his  appurtenances  in  the  way  of  relatives. 
At  sight  of  them  the  grandeur  of  the  Amberson 
family  was  instantly  conspicuous  as  a  permanent 


ttimg:  it  was  impossible  to  doubt  that  the  Amber- 
sons  were  entrenched,  in  their  nobility  and  riches, 
behind  polished  and  glittering  barriers  which  were  as 
solid  as  they  were  brilliant,  and  would  last. 


THE  hero  of  the  f 6te,  with  the  dark-eyed  little 
beauty  upon  his  arm,  reached  the  top  of  the 
second  flight  of  stairs;  and  here,  beyond  a 
spacious  landing,  where  two  proud-like  darkies 
tended  a  crystalline  punch  bowl,  four  wide  arch- 
ways in  a  rose-vine  lattice  framed  ghding  silhouettes 
of  waltzers,  already  smoothly  at  it  to  the  castanets  of 
**La  Paloma.^'  Old  John  Minafer,  evidently  sur- 
feited, was  in  the  act  of  leaving  these  delights. 
"DVant  'ny  more  o*  ,that!"  he  barked.  "Just 
slidin'  around!  Call  that  dancin'?  Rather  see  a 
jig  any  day  in  the  world!  They  ain't  very  modest, 
some  of 'em.  I  don't  mind  ^^,  though.  Not  me!'* 
Miss  Fanny  Minafer  was  no  longer  in  charge  of 
him:  he  emerged  from  the  ballroom  escorted  by  a 
middle-aged  man  of  commonplace  appearance.  The 
escort  had  a  dry,  lined  face  upon  which,  not  ornamen- 
tally but  as  a  matter  of  course,  there  grew  a  busi- 
ness man's  short  moustache;  and  his  thin  neck 
showed  an  Adam's  apple,  but  not  conspicuously,  for 



there  was  nothing  conspicuous  about  him.  Baldish» 
dim,  quiet,  he  was  an  unnoticeable  part  of  this  festi- 
val, and  although  there  were  a  dozen  or  more 
middle-aged  men  present,  not  casually  to  be  distin- 
guished from  him  in  general  aspect,  he  was  probably, 
the  last  person  in  the  big  house  at  whom  a  stranger 
would  have  glanced  twice.  It  did  not  enter  George's 
mind  to  mention  to  Miss  Morgan  that  this  was  his 
father,  or  to  say  anything  whatever  about  him. 

Mr.  Minafer  shook  his  son's  hand  unobtrusively 
in  passing. 

"  I'll  take  Uncle  John  home,"  he  said,  in  a  low  voice- 
"  Then  I  guess  I'll  go  on  home  myself — ^I'm  not  a  great 
hand  at  parties,  you  know.     Good-night,  George." 

George  murmured  a  friendly  enough  good-night 
without  pausing.  Ordinarily  he  was  not  ashamed 
of  the  Minafers;  he  seldom  thought  about  them  at 
all,  for  he  belonged,  as  niost  American  children  do,  to 
the  mother's  fanuly — but  he  was  anxious  not  to 
linger  with  Miss  Morgan  in  the  vicinity  of  old  John* 
whom  he  felt  to  );>e  a  disgrace. 

He  pushed  brusquely  through  the  fringe  of  cal- 
culating youths  who  were  gathered  in  the  arches, 
watching  for  chances  to  dance  only  with  girls  who 
would  soon  be  taken  off  their  hands,  and  led  hit 


stranger  lady  out  upon  the  floor.  They  caught  the 
time  instantly,  and  were  away  in  the  waltz. 

George  danced  well,  and  Miss  Morgan  seemed  to 
float  as  part  of  the  music,  the  very  dove  itself  of 
"ia  Palama.*'  They  said  nothing  as  they  danced; 
her  eyes  were  cast  down  all  the  while — ^the  prettiest 
gesture  for  a  dancer — and  there  was  left  in  the  uni- 
verse, for  each  of  them,  only  their  companionship  in 
this  waltz;  while  the  faces  of  the  other  dancers,  swim- 
ming  by,  denoted  not  people  but  merely  blurs  of 
colour.  George  became  conscious  of  strange  feelings 
within  him :  an  exaltation  of  soul,  tender,  but  indefi- 
nite, and  seemingly  located  in  the  upper  part  of  his 

The  stopping  of  the  music  came  upon  him  like  the 
waking  to  an  alarm  clock;  for  instantly  six  or  seven 
of  the  calculating  persons  about  the  entryways  bore 
down  upon  Miss  Morgan  to  secure  dances.  George 
had  to  do  with  one  already  established  as  a  belle,  it 

"Give  me  the  next  and  the  one  after  that,"  he 
said  hurriedly,  recovering  some  presence  of  mind» 
just  as  the  nearest  applicant  reached  them.  "And 
give  me  every  third  one  the  rest  of  the  evening^ 

She  laughed.     "Are  you  asking? 

le  evening/* 




What  do  you  mean,  *asking'?'* 
It  sounded  as  though  you  were  just  telling  me  to 
give  you  all  those  dances." 

"Well,  I  want  'em!"  George  insisted. 

"What  about  all  the  other  girls  it's  your  duty  to 
dance  with?" 

"They'll  have  to  go  without,"  he  said  heartlessly; 
and  then,  with  surprising  vehemence:  "Here!  I 
want  to  know :    Are  you  going  to  give  me  those " 

"Good  gracious!"  she  laughed.     "Yes!" 

Tlie  applicants  flocked  round  her,  urgmg  con- 
tracts for  what  remained,  but  they  did  not  dislodge 
George  from  her  side,  though  he  made  it  evident 
that  they  succeeded  in  annoying  him;  and  presently 
he  extricated  her  from  an  accumulating  siege — ^she 
must  have  connived  in  the  extrication — and  bore  her 
off  tp  sit  beside  him  upon  the  stairway  that  led  to 
the  musicians'  gallery,  where  they  were  sufficiently 
retired,  yet  had  a  view  of  the  room. 

"  How'd  all  those  ducks  get  to  know  you  so  quick?  " 
George  inquired*,  with  little  enthusiasm. 
Oh,  I've  been  here  a  week." 
Looks  as  if  you'd  been  pretty  busy!"  he  said. 
**Most  of  those  ducks,  I  don't  know  what  my  mother 
wanted  to  invite  'em  here  for." 






Don*t  you  like  them?" 

Oh,  I  used  to  see  something  of  a  few  of  'em.  I 
I  was  president  of  a  club  we  had  here,  and  some  of 
'em  belonged  to  it,  but  I  don't  care  much  for  that 
sort  of  thing  any  more.  I  really  don't  see  why  my 
mother  invited  'em." 

"Perhaps  it  was  on  accoimt  of  their  parents,'* 
Miss  Morgan  suggested  mildly.  "  Maybe  she  didn't 
want  to  offend  their  fathers  and  mothers.*' 

"Oh,  hardly!  I  don't  think  my  mother  need 
worry  much  about  offending  anybody  in  this  old 

"It  must  be  wonderful,"  said  Miss  Morgan. 
"It  must  be  wonderful,  Mr.  Amberson — ^Mr.  Mina- 
fer,  I  mean." 

"What  must  be  wonderful?" 
To  be  so  important  as  that!" 
ThM  isn't    ^important,' "    George   assured   her. 
"Anybody  that  really  is  anybody  ought  to  be  able 
to  do  about  as  they  like  in  their  own  town,  I  should 

She  looked  at  him  critically  from  under  her  shading 
lashes — ^but  her  eyes  grew  gentler  almost  at  once. 
In  truth,  they  became  more  appreciative  than  criti- 
cal.    George's  imperious  good  looks  were  altogether 




manly,  yet  approached  actual  beauty  as  closely  as  a 
boy's  good  looks  should  dare;  and  dance-music  and 
flowers  have  some  effect  upon  nineteen-year-old 
girls  as  well  as  upon  eighteen-year-old  boys.  Miss 
Morgan  turned  her  eyes  slowly  from  George,  and 
pressed  her  face  among  the  lilies-of-the-valley  and 
violets  of  the  pretty  bouquet  she  carried,  while, 
from  the  gallery  above,  the  music  of  the  next  dance 
carolled  out  merrily  in  a  new  two-step.  The 
musicians  made  the  melody  gay  for  the  Christmas- 
time with  chimes  of  sleighbells,  and  the  entrance  to 
the  shadowed  stairway  framed  the  passing  flushed 
and  lively  dancers,  but  neither  George  nor  Miss 
Morgan  suggested  moving  to  join  the  dance. 

The  stairway  was  draughty:  the  steps  were  nar- 
row and  uncomfortable;  no  older  person  would  have 
remained  in  su6h  a  place.  Moreover,  these  two 
young  people  were  strangers  to  each  other;  neither 
had  said  anything  in  which  the  other  had  discovered 
the  slightest  intrinsic  interest;  there  had  not  arisen 
between  them  the  beginnings  of  congeniality,  or  even 
of  friendliness — but  stairways  near  ballrooms  have 
more  to  answer  for  than  have  moonlit  lakes  and 
mountain  sunsets.  Some  day  the  laws  of  glamour 
must  be  discovered,  because  they  are  so  important 


that  the  world  would  be  wiser  now  if  Sir  Isaac  New- 
ton had  been  hit  on  the  head,  not  by  an  apple,  but 
by  a  yoimg  lady. 

Age,  confused  by  its  own  long  accumulation  of 
follies,  is  everlastingly  inquiring,  "What  does  she 
see  in  him?*^  as  if  young  love  came  about,  through 
thinking — or  through  conduct.  Age  wants  to  know : 
"What  on  earth  can  they  talk  about?"  as  if  talking 
had  anything  to  do  with  April  rains!  At  seventy, 
one  gets  up  in  the  morning,  finds  the  air  sweet  under 
a  bright  sun,  feels  lively;  thinks,  "I  am  hearty,  to- 
day," and  plans  to  go  for  a  drive.  At  eighteen,  one 
goes  to  a  dance,  sits  with  a  stranger  on  a  stairway, 
feels  peculiar,  thinks  nothing,  and  becomes  incap- 
able of  any  plan  whatever.  Miss  Morgan  and 
George  stayed  where  they  were. 

They  had-  agreed  to  this  in  silence  and  without 
knowing  it;  certainly  without  exchanging  glances  of 
inteUigence — they  had  exchanged  no  glances  at  all. 
Both  sat  staring  vaguely  out  into  the  ballroom,  and, 
for  a  time,  they  did  not  speak.  Over  their  heads  the 
music  reached  a  climax  of  vivacity:  drums,  cymbals, 
triangle,  and  sleighbells,  beating,  clashing,  tinkling. 
Here  and  there  were  to  be  seen  couples  so  carried 
away  that,  ceasing  to  move  at  the  decorous,  eveo 


glide,  considered  most  knowing,  they  pranced  and 
whirled  through  the  throng,  from  wall  to  wall, 
galloping  bounteoiisly  in  abandon.  George  suffered 
a  shock  of  vague  surprise  when  he  perceived  that  his 
aunt,  Fanny  Minafer,  was  the  lady-half  of  one  of 
these  wild  couples. 

Fanny  Minafer,  who  rouged  a  little,  was  like 
fruit  which  in  some  climates  dries  with  the  bloom 
on.  Her  features  had  remained  prettily  childlike; 
so  had  her  figure,  and  there  were  times  when 
strangers,  seeing  her  across  the  street,  took  her  to 
be  about  twenty;  they  were  other  times  when  at  the 
same  distance  they  took  her  to  be  about  sixty, 
instead  of  forty,  as  she  was.  She  had  old  days  and 
young  days;  old  hours  and  yoimg  hours;  old  min- 
utes and  young  minutes!  for  the  change  might  be 
that  quick.  An  alteration  in  her  expression,  or  a 
difference  in  the  attitude  of  her  head,  would  cause 
astonishing  indentations  to  appear — ^and  behold, 
Fanny  was  an  old  lady!  But  she  had  been  never 
more  childlike  than  she  was  to-night  as  she  flew 
over  the  floor  in  the  capable  arms  of  the  queer- 
looking  duck;  for  this  person  was  her  partner. 

The  queer-lobking  duck  had  been  a  real  dancer 
in  his  day,  it  appeared;  and  evidently  his  day  was 


not  yet  over.  In  spite  of  the  headlong,  gay  rapidity 
with  which  he  bore  Miss  Fanny  about  the  big  room, 
he  danced  authoritatively,  avoiding  without  effort 
the  lightest  collision  with  other  couples,  maintaining 
sufficient  grace  throughout  his  wildest  moments,  and 
all  the  while  laughing  and  talking  with  his  partner. 
What  was  most  remarkable  to  George,  and  a  little 
irritating,  this  stranger  in  the  Amberson  Mansion 
had  no  vestige  of  the  air  of  deference  proper  to  a 
stranger  in  such  a  place:  he  seemed  thoroughly  at 
home.  He  seemed  offensively  so,  indeed,  when,  pass- 
ing the  entrance  to  the  gallery  stairway,  he  disen- 
gaged his  hand  from  Miss  Fanny's  for  an  instant,  and 
not  pausing  in  the  dance,  waved  a  laughing  salutation 
more  than  cordial,  then  capered  lightly  out  of  sight. 

George  gazed  stonily  at  this  manifestation,  re- 
sponding neither  by  word  nor  sign.  "How's  that 
for  a  bit  of  freshness?"  he  murmured. 

"What  was?"  Miss  Morgan  asked. 

"That  queer-looking  duck  waving  his  hand  at  me 
like  that.  Except  he's  the  Sharon  girls'  uncle  I  don't 
know  him  from  Adam." 

"You  don't  need  to,"  she  said.  "He  wasn't  wav- 
ing his  hand  to  you:  he  meant  me."  * 

**Oh,  he  did?"     George  was  not  mollified  by  the 


explanation.  ^^ Everybody  seems  to  mean  you! 
You  certainly  do  seem  toVe  been  pretty  busy  this 
week  youVe  been  here!" 

She  pressed  her  bouquet  to  her  face  again^  and 
laughed  into  it,  not  displeased.  She  made  no  other 
comment,  and  for  another  period  neither  spoke. 
Meanwhile  the  music  stopped;  loud  applause  insisted 
upon  its  renewal;  an  encore  was  danced;  there  was  an 
mteriude  of  voices;  and  the  changing  of  partners 

"Well,"  said  Greorge  finally,  "I  must  say  you  don't 
seem  to  be  much  of  a  prattler.  They  say  it's  a  great 
way  to  get  a  reputation  for  being  wise,  never  saying 
much.     Don't  you  ever  talk  any?** 

"When  people  can  understand,"  she  answered. 

He  had  been  looking  moodily  out  at  the.  ballroom 
but  he  turned  to  her  quickly,  at  this,  saw  that  her 
-eyes  were  simny  and  content,  over  the  top  of  her 
bouquet;  and  he  consented  to  smile. 

"  Girls  are  usually  pretty  fresh ! "  he  said.  "  They 
ought  to  go  to  a  man's  college  about  a  year:  they'd 
get  taught  a  few  things  about  freshness !  What  you 
got  to  do  after  two  o'clock  to-morrow  afternoon?" 

"A  whole  lot  of  things.     Every  minute  filled  up." 

"All  right,"  said  George.     "The  snow's  fine  for 




sleighing:   I'll  come  for  you  in  a  cutter   at   ten 
minutes  after  two/* 
I  can't  possibly  go." 

If  you  don't,"  he  said,  "I'm  going  to  sit  in  the 
cutter  in  front  of  the  gate,  wherever  you're  visiting,, 
all  afternoon,  and  if  you  try  to  go  out  with  anybody 
else  he's  got  to  whip  me  before  he  gets  you."  And  as 
she  laughed — though  she  blushed  a  little,  too — ^he  con- 
tinued, seriously:  "If  you  think  I'm  not  in  earnest 
you're  at  liberty  to  make  quite  a  big  experiment!" 

She  laughed  again.  "I  don't  think  I've  often  had 
so  large  a  compliment  as  that,"  she  said,  "especially 
on  such  short  notice — and  yet,  I  don't  think  I'll  go 
with  you." 

"You  be  ready  at  ten  minutes  after  two." 

"No,  I  won't." 

"Yes,  you  will!" 

"Yes,"  she  said,  "I  will!"  And  her  partner  for 
the  next  dance  arrived,  breathless  with  searching. 

"Don't  forget  I've  got  the  third  from  now,** 
George  called  after  her. 
1  won  t. 

"And  every  third  one  after  that.'* 

"I  know!"  she  called,  over  her  partner's  shouldei^ 
and  her  voice  was  amused — ^but  meek. 


When  "the  third  from  now"  came,  George  pre- 
sented himself  before  her  without  any  greeting,  like 
a.  brother,  or  a  mannerless  old  friend.  Neither  did 
she  greet  him,  but  moved  away  with  him,  concluding, 
as  she  went,  an  exchange  of  badinage  with  the  pre- 
ceding partner:  she  had  been  talkative  enough  with 
him,  it  appeared.  In  fact,  both  George  and  Miss 
Morgan  talked  much  more  to  every  one  else  that 
evening,  than  to  each  other;  and  they  said  nothing 
at  all  at  this  time.  Both  looked  preoccupied,  as 
they  began  to  dance,  and  preserved  a  gravity  of 
expression  to  the  end  of  the  number.  And  when 
"the  third  one  after  that"  came,  they  did  not  dance, 
but  went  back  to  the  gallery  stairway,  seeming  to 
have  reached  an  understanding  without  any  verbal 
eonsultation,  that  this  suburb  was  again  the  place 
for  them. 

"Well,"  said  George,  coolly,  when  they  were 
seated,  "what  did  you  say  your  name  was?" 


"Funny  name!" 

"Everybody  else's  name  always  is." 

"I  didn't  mean  it  was  really  fimny,"  George  ex- 
plained. "That's  just  one  of  my  crowd's  bits  of 
horsing  at  college.     We  always  say  *funny  name'  no 




matter  what  it  is.  I  guess  we're  pretty  fresh  some- 
times; but  I  knew  your  name  was  Morgan  because 
my  mother  said  so  downstairs.  I  meant:  what's  the 
rest  of  it?" 


He  was  sil^it. 
Is  *Lucy*  a  funny  name,  too?"  she  inquired. 
No.     Lucy's  very  much  all  right!"  he  said,  and 
he  went  so  far  as  to  smile.     Even  his  Aunt  Fanny 
admitted  that  when  George  smiled  '^in  a  certain 
way"  he  was  charming. 

"Thanks  about  letting  my  name  be  Lucy,"  she 

"How  old  are  you?"  George  asked. 

"I  don't  really  know,  myself." 

"What  do  you  mean:  you  don't  really  know  your- 

"I  mean  I  only  know  what  they  tell  me.  I  believe 
them,  of  course,  but  believing  isn't  really  knowing. 
You  believe  some  certain  day  is  your  birthday — at 
least,  I  suppose  you  do — ^but  you  don't  really  know 
it  is  because  you  can't  remember." 

"Look  here!"  said  George.  "Do  you  always 
talk  like  this?" 

Miss  Lucy  Morgan  laughed  forgivingly,  put  her 




young  head  on  one  side,  like  a  bird,  and  responded 
cheerfully:     "I'm  willing  to  learn  wisdom.     What 
are  you  studying  in  school?" 

At  the  imiversityJ    Yes.     What  are  you  study- 
ing there?" 

George  laughed.     "Lot  o'  useless  guflF!" 
Then  why  don't  you  study  some  useful  guflf?" 
What  do  you  mean:  ^useful'?" 

"Something  you'd  use  later,  in  your  business  or 

George  waved  his  hand  impati«itly.  "I  don't 
expect  to  go  into  any  'business  or  profession.' " 


"Certainly  not!"  George  was  emphatic,  being 
sincerely  annoyed  by  a  suggestion  which  showed  how 
utterly  she  failed  to  comprehend  the  kind  of  person 
he  was. 

"Why  not?"  she  asked  mildly. 

"  Just  look  at  'em ! "  he  said,  almost  with  bitterness, 
and  he  made  a  gesture  presumably  intended  to  in- 
dicate the  business  and  professional  men  now  danc- 
ing within  range  of  vision.  "  That's  a  fine  career  for 
a  man,  isn't  it*  Lawyers,  bankers,  politicians! 
What  do  they  get  out  of  life,  I'd  like  to  know! 


What  do  they  ever  know  about  real  things?    Where 
do  they  ever  get?^* 

He  was  so  earnest  that  she  was  surprised  and 
impressed.  Evidently  he  had  deep-seated  ambi- 
tions, for  he  seemed  to  speak  with  actual  emotion 
of  these  despised  things  which  were  so  far  beneath 
his  planning  for  the  future.  She  had  a  vague,  mo- 
mentary vision  of  Pitt,  at  twenty-one,  prime  minis- 
ter of  England;  and  she  spoke,  involimtarily  in  a 
lowered  voice,  with  deference: 

"What  do  you  want  to  be?"  she  ask^d. 

George  answered  promptly. 
A  yachtsman,"  he  said. 



HAVING  thus,  in  a  word,  revealed  his  ambi- 
tion for  a  career  above  courts,  marts,  and 
polling  booths,  George  breathed  more 
deeply  than  usual,  and,  turning  his  face  from  the 
lovely  companion  whom  he  had  just  made  his  con- 
fidant, gazed  out  at  the  dancers  with  an  expression  in 
which  there  was  both  sternness  and  a  contempt  for  the 
squalid  lives  of  the  imyachted  Midlanders  before  him. 
However,  among  them,  he  marked  his  mother;  and 
his  sombre  grandeur  relaxed  momentarily;  a  more 
genial  light  came  into  his  eyes. 

Isabel  was  dancing  with  the  queer-looking  duck; 
and  it  was  to  be  noted  that  the  lively  gentleman's 
gait  was  more  sedate  than  it  had  been  with  Miss 
Fanny  Minafer,  but  not  less  dexterous  and  authori- 
tative. He  was  talking  to  Isabel  as  gaily  as  he  had 
talked  to  Miss  Fanny,  though  with  less  laughter, 
and  Isabel  listened  and  answered  eagerly :  her  colour 
was  high  and  her  eyes  had  a  look  of  dehght.  She 
saw  George  and  the  beautiful  Lucy  on  the  stair- 




way,  and  nodded  to  them.  George  waved  his  faimd 
vaguely:  he  had  a  momentary  return  of  that  inex*- 
plieable  imeasiness  and  resentment  which  had 
troubled  him  downstairs. 

How  lovely  your  mother  is!"  Lucy  said. 
I  think  she  is,"  he  agreed  gently. 
She's  the  gracefiilest  woman  in  that  ballroom. 
She  dances  like  a  girl  of  sixteen." 

"Most  girls  of  sixteen,"  said  Gecarge,  "are  bum 
dancers.  Anyhow,  I  wouldn't  dance  with  one 
unless  I  had  to." 

"Well,  you'd  better  dance  with  your  mother!  I 
never  saw  anybody  lovelier.  How  wonderfully  they 
dance  together!" 


"  Your  mother  and — ^and  the  queer-looking  duck," 
said  Lucy.     "I'm  going  to  dance  with  him  pretty 



I  don't  care — so  long  as  you  don't  give  him  one 
of  the  numbers  that  belong  to  me." 

"I'll  try  to  remember,"  she  said,  and  thoughtfully 
lifted  to  her  face  the  bouquet  of  violets  and  lilies» 
a  gesture  which  George  noted  without  approval. 

"  Look  here !  Who  sent  you  those  flowers  you  keep 
makin'  such  a  fuss  over?" 


••He  did." 

"Who's  'heT' 

**llie  queer-looking  duck." 

Greorge  f^tred  no  such  rival;  he  laughed  loudly. 
"I  s'pose  he*s  some  old  widower!"  he  said,  the  object 
thus  described  seeming  ignominious  enough  to  a 
person  of  eighteen,  without  additional  characteriza- 
tion.    "Some  old  widower!" 

Lucy  became  serious  at  once.  "Yes,  he  is  a 
widower,"  she  said.  "I  ought  to  have  told  you 
before;  he's  my  father." 

George  stopped  laughing  abruptly.  "Well,  that's 
a  horse  on  me.  If  I'd  known  he  was  your  father,  of 
course  I   wouldn't  have  made  fun   of  him.     I'm 



"Nobody  could  make  fun  of  him,"  she  said 

"Why  couldn't  they?" 

**It  wouldn't  make  him  funny:  it  would  only 
make  themselves  silly." 

Upon  this,  George  had  a  gleam  of  intelligence. 
"Well,  I'm  not  going  to  make  myself  silly  any  more, 
then;  I  don't  want  to  take  chances  like  that  with 
you.  But  I  thought  he  was  the  Sharon  girb'  uncle« 
He  came  with  them— — " 


"Yes,"  she  said,  "I'm  always  late  to  everything: 
I  wouldn't  let  them  wait  for  me.  We're  visiting  the 

"About  time  I  knew  that!  You  forget  my  being 
so  fresh  about  your  father,  will  you?  Of  course 
he's  a  distinguished  looking  man,  in  a  way." 

Lucy  was  still  serious.  "*In  a  way?'"  she  re- 
peated.    "You  mean,  not  in  your  way,  don't  you?" 

George  was  perplexed.  "How  do  you  mean:  not 
in  my  way?" 

"People  pretty  often  say  *in  a  way*  and  'rather 
distmguished  looking,'  or  'rather'  so-and-so,  or 
'rather'  anything,  to  show  that  theyWe  superior, 
don't  they?  In  New  York  last  month  I  overheard 
a  climber  sort  of  woman  speaking  of  me  as  'little 
Miss  Morgan,'  but  she  didn't  mean  my  height;  she 
meant  that  she  was  important.  Her  husband  spoke 
of  a  friend  of  mine  as  'little  Mr.  Pembroke'  and  'little 
Mr.  Pembroke'  is  six-feet-three.  This  husband  and 
wife  were  really  so  terribly  unimportant  that  the 
only  way  they  knew  to  pretend  to  be  important  was 
calling  people  'little'  Miss  or  Mister  so-and-so.  It's 
a  kind  of  snob  slang,  I  think.  Of  course  people  don't 
always  say  'rather'  or  'in  a  way'  to  be  superior." 

"I  should  say  not!    I  use  both  of  'em  a  great  deal 


myself,"  said  (Jeorge.  "One  thing  I  don't  see 
though:  What's  the  use  of  a  man  being  six-feet- 
three?  Men  that  size  can't  handle  themselves  as 
well  as  a  man  about  five-feet-eleven  and  a  half  can. 
Those  long,  gangling  men,  they're  nearly  always  too 
kind  of  wormy  to  be  any  good  in  athletics,  and  they're 
so  awkward  they  keep  falling  over  chairs  or " 

"Mr.  Pembroke  is  in  the  army,"  said  Lucy 
primly.     "He's   extraordinarily   graceful." 

"  In  the  army?  Oh,  I  suppose  he's  some  old  friend 
of  your  father's." 

"They  got  on  very  well,"  she  said,  "after  I  intro- 
duced them." 

George  was  a  straightforward  soul,  at  least. 
"See  here!"  he  said.  "Are  you  engaged  to  any- 


Not  wholly  mollified,  he  shrugged  his  shoulders. 
"You  seem  to  know  a  good  many  pe<^le!  Do  you 
live  in  New  York?" 

"No.    We  don't  live  anywhere." 

"What  you  mean:  you  don't  live  anywhere?" 

"We've  hved  all  over,"  she  answered.  "Papa 
used  to  live  here  in  this  town,  but  that  was  before  I 
was  bom* ' 


^^What  do  you  keep  moving  around  so  for?  Is 
he  a  promoter?  '* 

"No.    He's  an  inventor/* 

"What's  he  invented?'* 

"Just  lately,"  said  Lucy,  "he's  been  woridng  on  a 
new  kind  of  horseless  carriage." 

"Well,  I'm  sorry  for  him,"  George  said,  in  no  un- 
kindly spirit.  "Those  things  are  never  going  to 
amount  to  anything.  People  aren't  going  to  spend 
their  lives  lying  on  their  backs  in  the  road  and  letting 
((rease  drip  in  their  faces.  Horseless  carriages  are 
pretty  much  a  failure,  and  your  father  better  not 
waste  his  time  on  'em." 

"Papa'd  be  so  grateful,"  she  returned,  "if  he 
could  have  your  advice." 

Instantly  George's  face  became  flushed.  "  I  don't 
know  that  I've  done  anything  to  be  insulted  for!"  he 
said.  "I  don't  see  that  what  I  said  was  particularly 

No,  indeed! 

Then  what  do  you- 

She  laughed  gaily.  "I  don't!  And  I  don't 
mind  your  being  such  a  lofty  person  at  all.  I 
think  it's  ever  so  interesting — but  papa's  a  great 

"No,  indeed!" 

«rriL "L^j.     J_     99 


"Is  he?'*  George  decided  to  be  good-natured* 
*^ell,  let  us  hope  so.    I  hope  so,  I'm  sure." 

Looking  at  him  keenly,  she  saw  that  the  magni- 
ficent youth  was  incredibly  sincere  in  this  bit  of 
graciousness.  He  spoke  as  a  tolerant,  elderiy  states- 
man might  speak  of  a  promising  yoimg  politician; 
and  with  her  eyes  still  upon  him,  Lucy  shook  her 
head  in  gentle  wonder.  ^^I'm  just  b^inning  to  im- 
derstand,"  she  said. 

"Understand  what?" 

"What  it  means  to  be  a  real  Amberson  in  this 
town.  Papa  told  me  something  about  it  before  we 
came,  but  I  see  he  didn't  say  half  enough!" 

George  superbly  took  this  all  for  tribute.  "Did 
your  father  say  he  knew  the  family  before  he  left 

"Yes.  I  believe  he  was  particularly  a  friend  of 
your  Uncle  George;  and  he  didn't  say  so,  but  I 
imagine  he  must  have  known  your  mother  very  well, 
too.  He  wasn't  an  inventor  then;  he  was  a  yoimg 
lawyer.  The  town  was  smaller  in  those  days,  and  I 
believe  he  was  quite  well  known." 

"I  dare  say.  I've  no  doubt  the  family  are  all 
very  glad  to  see  him  back,  especially  if  they  used  to 
have  him  at  the  house  a  good  deal,  as  he  told  you." 


^^I  don't  think  he  meant  to  boast  of  it/'  she  said. 
**He  spoke  of  it  quite  calmly." 

George  stared  at  her  for  a  moment  in  perplexity, 
then  perceiving  that  her  intention  was  satirical, 
"Girls  really  ought  to  go  to  a  man's  college,"  he 
said — "just  a  month  or  two,  anyhow.  It'd  take 
some  of  the  freshness  out  of  'em!" 

"I  can't  believe  it,"  she  retorted,  as  her  partner 
for  the  ne3d:  dance  arrived.  "It  would  only  make 
them  a  little  politer  on  the  surface — ^they'd  be  really 
just  as  awful  as  ever,  after  you  got  to  know  them  a 
few  minutes." 

"What  do  you  mean:  *after  you  got  to  know  them 

a '" 

She  was  departing  to  the  dance.  "  Janie  and  Mary 
Sharon  told  me  all  about  what  sort  of  a  little  boy  you 
were,"  she  said,  over  her  shoulder.  "You  must 
think  it  out!" 

She  took  wing  away  on  the  breeze  of  the  waltz,  and 
George,  having  stared  gloomily  after  her  for  a  few 
moments,  postponed  filling  an  engagement,  and 
strolled  roimd  the  fluctuating  outskirts  of  the  dance 
to  where  his  imcle,  George  Amberson,  stood  smil- 
ingly watching,  imder  one  of  the  rose- vine  arches  at 
the  entrance  to  the  room. 


** Hello,  young  namesake/'  said  the  uncle.  "Why 
lingers  the  laggard  heel  of  the  dancer?  Haven't  you 
got  a  partner?" 

"She's  sitting  aroimd  waiting  for  me  somewhere," 
said  George.  "  See  here :  Who  is  this  fellow  Morgan 
that  Aimt  Fanny  Minaf er  was  dancing  with  a  while 

Amberson  laughed.  "He's  a  man  with  a  pretty 
daughter,  Georgie.  Meseemed  you've  been  spend- 
ing the  evening  noticing  something  of  that  sort — or 
do  I  err?" 

"  Never  mind !    What  sort  is  he?  " 

"  I  think  we'll  have  to  give  him  a  character,  Georgie. 
He's  an  old  friend;  used  to  practise  law  here — ^perhaps 
he  had  more  debts  than  cases,  but  he  paid  'em  all  up 
before  he  left  town.  Your  question  is  piu'ely  mer- 
cenary, I  take  it:  you  want  to  know  his  true  worth 
before  proceeding  further  with  the  daughter.  I 
cannot  inform  you,  though  I  notice  signs  of  con- 
siderable prosperity  in  that  becoming  dress  of  hers. 
However,  you  never  can  tell.  It  is  an  age  when  every 
sacrifice  is  made  for  the  young,  and  how  your  own 
poor  mother  managed  to  provide  those  genuine  pearl 
studs  for  you  out  of  her  allowance  from  fatiier*  I 
jbh  t 


"Oh,  dry  up!"  said  the  nephew.    "I  understand 
this  Morgan " 

"Mr.  Eugene  Morgan,"  his  imcle  suggested. 
**  Politeness  requires  that  the  yoimg  should " 

"I  guess  the  ^oimg'  didn't  know  much  about 
politeness  in  your  day,"  George  interrupted.  "I 
understand  that  Mr.  Eugene  Morgan  used  to  be  a 
great  friend  of  the  family." 

"Oh,  the  Minafers?"  the  uncle  inquired,  with  ap- 
parent innocence.  "No,  I  seem  to  recall  that  he  and 
your  father  were  not ' ' 

"  I  mean  the  Ambersons,"  George  said  impatiently. 
"  I  understand  he  was  a  good  deal  around  the  house 



"What  is  your  objection  to  that,  George?" 
"What  do  you  mean:  my  objection?" 
"You  seemed  to  speak  with  a  certain  crossness." 
"Well,"  said  George,  "I  meant  he  seems  to  feel 

awfully  at  home  here.    The  way  he  was  dancing  with 

Aunt  Fanny " 

Amberson    laughed.     "I'm    afraid    your    Aunt 

Fanny's  heart  was  stirred  by  ancient  recollections, 

"You  mean  she  used  to  be  silly  about  him?" 
'She  wasn't  considered  singular,"  said  the  uncle 


**He  was — ^he  was  popular.  Could  you  bear  a 

"What  do  you  mean:  could  I  bear " 

"I  only  wanted  to  ask:  Do  you  take  this  same 
passionate  interest  in  the  parents  of  every  girl  you 
dance  with?  Perhaps  it*s  a  new  fashion  we  old 
bachelors  ought  to  take  up.  Is  it  the  thing  this 
year  to " 

"Oh,  go  on!'*  said  George,  moving  away.     "I 

only  wanted  to  know "    He  left  the  sentence 

unfinished,  and  crossed  the  room  to  where  a  girl  sat 
waiting  for  his  nobility  to  find  time  to  fulfil  his  con- 
tract with  her  for  this  dance. 

"Pardon  f*  keep'  wait,'*  he  muttered,  as  she 
rose  brightly  to  meet  him;  and  she  seemed  pleased 
that  he  came  at  all — ^but  George  was  used  to  girls' 
looking  radiant  when  he  danced  with  them,  and 
she  had  little  effect  upon  him.  He  danced  with 
her  perfunctorily,  thinking  the  while  of  Mr.  Eugene 
Morgan  and  his  daughter.  Strangely  enough,  his 
thoughts  dwelt  more  upon  the  father  than  the 
daughter,  though  George  could  not  possibly  have 
ipven  a  reason — even  to  himself — ^for  this  disturbing 

By  a  coincidence,  though  not  an  odd  one,  the 


thoughts  and  conversation  of  Mr.  Eugene  Morgan 
at  this  very  time  were  concerned  with  George 
Amberson  Minafer,  rather  casually,  it  is  true.  Mr. 
Morgan  had  retired  to  a  room  set  apart  for  smoking, 
on  the  second  floor,  and  had  f oimd  a  grizzled  gentle- 
man loimging  in  solitary  possession. 

"'Gene  Morgan!"  this  person  exclaimed,  rising 
with  great  heartiness.  "I'd  heard  you  were  in  town 
— ^I  don't  believe  you  know  me!" 

"Yes,  I  do,  Fred  Kinney!"  Mr.  Morgan  returned 
with  equal  friendliness.  "Your  re«^l  face — the  one 
I  used  to  know — it's  just  imdemeath  the  one  you're 
masquerading  in  to-night.  You  ought  to  have 
changed  it  more  if  you  wanted  a  disguise." 

"Twenty  years!"  said  Mr.  Kinney.  "It  makes 
some  difference  in  faces,  but  more  in  behaviour!" 

"It  does  5o/"  his  friend  agreed  with  explosive  em- 
phasis.  "My  own  behaviour  began  to  be  different 
about  that  long  ago — quite  suddenly." 

"I  remember,"  said  Mr.  Kinney  sympathetically, 
Well,  life's  odd  enough  as  we  look  back." 

"Probably  it's  going  to  be  odder  still — ^if  we  could 
look  forward." 


They  sat  and  smoked. 


"However,"  Mr.  Morgan  remarked  presently,  "I 
still  dance  like  an  Indian.     Don't  you?" 

"  No.  I  leave  that  to  my  boy  Fred.  Hjb  does  the 
dancing  for  the  family." 

"I  suppose  he's  upstairs  hard  at  it?" 

"No,  he's  not  here."  Mr.  Kinney  glanced  toward 
the  open  door  and  lowered  his  voice.  "He  wouldn't 
come.  It  seems  that  a  couple  of  years  or  so  ago  he 
had  a  row  with  young  Georgie  Minafer.  Fred  was 
president  of  a  literary  club  they  had,  and  he  said  this 
young  Georgie  got  himself  elected  instead,  in  an  over- 
bearing sort  of  way.  Fred's  red-headed,  you  know 
— ^I  suppose  you  remember  his  mother?  You  were 
at  the  wedding " 

"I  remember  the  wedding,"  said  Mr.  Morgan. 
"And  I  remember  your  bachelor  dinner — ^most  of  it, 
that  is." 

"Well,  my  boy  Fred's  as  red-headed  now,"  Mr. 
EGnney  went  on,  "as  his  mother  was  then,  and  he's 
very  bitter  about  his  row  with  Georgie  Minafer. 
He  says  he'd  rather  bum  his  foot  off  than  set  it  inside 
any  Amberson  house  or  any  place  else  where  young 
Georgie  is.  Fact  is,  the  boy  seemed  to  have  so  much 
feeling  over  it  I  had  my  doubts  about  coming  myself, 
but  my  wife  said  it  was  all  nonsense;  we  mustn't 


humour  Fred  in  a  grudge  over  such  a  little  thing,  and 
while  she  despised  that  Georgie  Minaf er,  herself,  as 
much  as  any  one  else  did,  she  wasn't  going  to  miss 
a  big  Amberson  show  just  on  accoimt  of  a  boys'  rum- 
pus, and  so  on  and  so  on;  and  so  we  came." 

"Do  people  dislike  yoimg  Minafer  generally?" 

**I  don't  know  about  ^generally.'  I  guess  he  gets 
plenty  of  toadying;  but  there's  certainly  a  lot  of 
people  that  are  glad  to  express  their  opinions  about 

"What's  the  matter  with  him?" 

"Too  onuch  Amberson,  I  suppose,  for  one  thing. 
And  for  another,  his  mother  just  fell  down  and  wor- 
shipped him  from  the  day  he  was  bom.  That's 
what  beats  me!  I  don't  have  to  tell  you  what  Isabel 
Amberson  is,  Eugene  Morgan.  She's  got  a  touch 
of  the  Amberson  high  stuflf  about  her,  but  you  can't 
get  anybody  that  ever  knew  her  to  deny  that  she's 
just  about  the  finest  woman  in  the  world." 

"  No,"  said  Eugene  Morgan.  "  You  can't  get  any. 
body  to  deny  that." 

"  Then  I  can't  see  how  she  doesn't  see  the  truth 
about  that  boy.  He  thinks  he's  a  little  tin  god  on 
wheels — and  honestly,  it  makes  some  people  weak 
and  sick  just  to  think  about  him!    Yet  that  high- 


spirited,  intelligent  woman,  Isabel  Amberson,  a<r 
tually  sits  and  worships  him !  You  can  hear  it  in  hei 
voice  when  she  speaks  to  him  or  speaks  of  him. 
You  can  see  it  in  her  eyes  when  she  looks  at  him. 
My  Lord!  What  does  she  see  wh^i  she  looks  at 

Morgan's  odd  expression  of  genial  apprehension 
deepened  whimsically,  though  it  denoted  no  actual 
apprehension  whatever,  and  cleared  away  from  his 
face  altogether  when  he  smiled;  he  became  surpris- 
ingly winning  and  persuasive  when  he  smiled.  He 
smiled  now,  after  a  moment,  at  this  question  of  his 
old  friend.  "She  sees  something  that  we  don't  see,'* 
he  said. 

What  does  she  see?'' 
An  angel." 

Kinney  laughed  aloud.  "Well,  if  she  sees  an 
angel  when  she  looks  at  Georgie  Minafer,  she's  a 
funnier  woman  than  I  thought  she  was!" 

"Perhaps  she  is,"  said  Morgan.  "But  that's 
what  she  sees." 

"My  Lord!  It's  easy  to  see  you've  only  known 
him  an  hour  or  so.  In  that  time  have  you  looked 
at  Greorgie  and  seen  an  angel?" 

'No.    All  I  saw  was  a  remarkably  good-looking 



fool-boy  with  the  pride  of  Satan  and  a  set  of  nice  new 
drawing-room  manners  that  he  probably  couldn't  use 
more  than  half  an  hour  at  a  time  without  busting." 

"Then  what " 

"Mothers  are  right,"  said  Morgan.  "Do  you 
think  this  yoimg  George  is  the  same  sort  of  creature 
when  he's  with  his  mother  that  he  is  when  he's 
bulldozing  your  boy  Fred?  Mothers  see  the  angel 
in  us  because  the  angel  is  there.  If  it's  shown  to  the 
mother,  the  s<»i'  has  got  an  angel  to  show,  hasn't  he? 
When  a  son  cuts  somebody's  throat  the  mother 
only  sees  it's  possible  for  a  misguided  angel  to  act 
like  a  devil — and  she's  entirely  right  about  that!" 

Kinney  laughed,  and  put  his  hand  on  his  friend's 
shoulder.  "I  remember  what  a  fellow  you  always 
were  to  argue,"  he  *  said.  "You  mean  Georgie 
Minaf  er  is  as  much  of  an  angel  as  any  murderer  is, 
and  that  Georgie's  mother  is  always  right." 

"I'm  afraid  she  always  has  been,"  Morgan  said 

The  friendly  hand  remained  upon  his  shoulder* 
"She  was  wrong  once,  old  fellow.  At  least,  so  it 
seemed  to  me." 

"No,"  said  Morgan,  a  little  awkwardly. 
"No " 


Kiimey  relieved  the  slight  embarrassoient  that^nd 
come  upon  both  of  them:  he  laughed  again.  ^^Wnit 
till  you  know  yoimg  Georgie  a  little  better,"  he  said. 
"Something  tells  me  you're  going  to  change  your 
mind  about  his  having  an  angel  to  show,  if  you  see 
anything  of  him!" 

"You  mean  beauty's  in  the  eye  of  the  beholder^ 
and  the  angel  is  all  in  the  eye  of  the  mother.  If  you 
were  a  painter,  Fred,  you'd  paint  nu^thers  with 
angels'  eyes  holding  imps  in  their  laps.  Me.  I'U 
stick  to  the  Old  Masters  and  the  cherubs." 

Mr.  Kinney  looked  at  him  musingly.  "Some- 
body's eyes  must  have  been  pretty  angelic,"  he  said, 
"if  they've  been  persuading  you  that  Georgie  Min- 
afer  is  a  cherub!" 

"They  are,"  said  Morgan  'heartily.  "They're 
more  angeUc  than  ever."  And  as  a  new  flourish  of 
music  sounded  overhead  he  threw  away  his  cigarette, 
and  jumped  up  briskly.  "Good-bye,  I've  got  this 
dance  with  her." 

^^  With  whom?" 

"With  Isabel!" 

The  grizzled  Mr.  Kinney  affected  to  rub  his  eyes. 
"It  startles  me,  your  jumping  up  like  that  to  go  and 
dance  with  Isabel  Amberson!    Twenty  years  seem 


to  have  passed — ^but  have  they?  Tell  me,  have  you 
danced  with  poor  old  Fanny,  too,  this  evening?" 


^^My  Lord!"  Kinney  groaned,  half  in  earnest. 
' '  Old  times  starting  all  over  again !    My  Lord ! " 

"Old  times?"  Morgan  laughed  gaily  from  the 
doorway.  "Not  a  bit!  There  aren't  any  old  times. 
When  times  are  gone  they're  not  old,  they're  dead  I 
There  aren't  any  times  but  new  times ! " 

And  he  vanished  in  such  a  manner  that  he  seemed 
already  to  have  begun  dancing. 


HE  appearance  of  Miss  Lucy  Morgan  the 
next  day,  as  she  sat  m  George's  fast  cutter* 
proved  so  charming  that  her  escort  was 
stricken  to  soft  words  instantly,  and  failed  to  control 
a  poetic  impulse.  Her  rich  little  hat  was  trimmed 
with  black  fur;  her  hair  was  almost  as  dark  as  the 
fur;  a  great  boa  of  black  fur  was  about  her  shoulders; 
her  hands  were  vanished  into  a  black  muff;  and 
Greorge's  laprobe  was  black.  "You  look  like — '*  he 
said.  "Your  face  looks  like — ^it  looks  like  a  snow- 
flake  on  a  lump  of  coal.  I  mean  a — ^a  snowflake 
that  would  be  a  rose-leaf,  too!" 

"Perhaps  you'd  better  look  at  the  reins,"  she  re- 
turned.    "We  almost  upset  just  then." 

George  declined  to  heed  this  advice.  "Beoause 
there's  too  much  pink  in  your  cheeks  for  a  snow- 
flake,"  he  continued.  "What's  that  fairy  ^tory 
about  snow-white  and  rose-red " 

"We're  going  pretty  fast,  Mr.  Minafer!" 

**  Well,  you  see,  I'm  only  here  for  two  weeks." 

^  I 


"I  mean  the  sleigh!"  she  explained.  ** We're  not 
the  only  people  on  the  street,  you  know." 

"Oh,  they'll  keep  out  of  the  way." 

"That's  very  patrician  charioteering,  but  it 
seems  to  me  a  horse  like  this  needs  guidance.  I'm 
sure  he's  going  almost  twenty  miles  an  hour." 

**  That's  nothing,"  said  George;  but  he  consented 
to  look  forward  again.  "He  can  trot  under  three 
minutes,  all  right."  He  laughed.  "I  suppose  youi 
father  thinks  he  can  build  a  horseless  carriage  to  go 
that  fast!" 

"They  go  that  fast  already,  sometimes." 

"Yes,"  said  George;  "they  do — ^for  about  a  hun- 
dred feet!    ITien  they  give  a  yell  and  bum  up." 

Evidently  she  decided  not  to  defend  her  father  s 
faith  in  horseless  carriages,  for  she  laughed,  and  said 
nothing.  The  cold  air  was  polka-dotted  with  snow- 
flakes,  and  trembled  to  the  loud,  continuous  jingling 
of  sleighbells.  Boys  Jtnd  girls,  all  aglow  and  panting 
jets  of  vapour,  darted  at  the  passing  sleighs  to  ride 
<m  the  runners,  or  sought  to  rope  their  sleds  to  any 
vehicle  whatever,  but  the  fleetest  no  more  than 
just  touched  the  flying  cutter,  though  a  hundred 
soggy  mittens  grasped  for  it,  then  reeled  and  whirled 
till  sometimes  the  wearers  of  those  daring  mittens 


plunged  flat  in  the  snow  and  lay  a-sprawl,  reflecting. 
For  this  was  the  holiday  time,  and  all  the  boys  and 
girls  in  town  were  out,  most  of  them  on  National 

But  there  came  panting  and  chugging  up  that  flat 
thoroughfare  a  thing  which  some  day  wa^  to  spoil 
all  their  sleigh-time  merriment— s4ve  for  the  rashcst 
and  most  disobedient.  It  was  vaguely  like  a  topless 
surry,  but  cumbrous  with  unwholesome  excrescences 
fore  and  aft,  while  underneath  were  spinning  leather 
belts  and  something  that  whirred  and  howled  and 
seemed  to  stagger.  The  ride-stealers  made  no 
attempt  to  fasten  their  sleds  to  a  contrivance  so 
nonsensical  and  yet  so  fearsome.  Instead,  they  gave 
over  their  sport  and  concentrated  all  their  energies 
in  their  lungs,  so  that  up  and  down  the  street  the  one 
cry  shrilled  increasingly:  "Git  a  hoss!  Git  a  hossl 
Git  a  hoss!  Mister,  why  don't  you  git  a  hoss?** 
But  the  mahout  in  charge,  sitting  solitary  on  the 
front  seat,  was  unconcerned — ^he  laughed,  and  now 
and  then  ducked  a  snowball  without  losing  any  of 
his  good-nature.  It  was  Mr.  Eugene  Morgan  who 
exhibited  so  cheerful  a  countenance  between  the 
forward  visor  of  a  deer-stalker  cap  and  the  collar  of  a 
fuzzy   gray   ulster.     "Git   a   hoss!"    the   children 


shrieked,  and  gruffer  voices  joined  them.  "Git  a 
hoss!    Git  a  hoss!    Git  a  hossl^* 

George  Minafer  was  correct  thus  far:  the  twelve 
miles  an  hour  of  such  a  machine  would  never  over- 
take George's  trotter.  The  cutter  was  already 
scurrying  between  the  stone  pillars  at  the  entrance 
to  Ambersbn  Addition. 

"That's  my  grandfather's,"  said  George,  nodding 
toward  the  Amberson  Mansion. 

"I  ought  to  know  that!"  Lucy  exclaimed.  "We 
stayed  there  late  enough  last  night:  papa  and  I  were 
almost  the  last  to  go.  He  and  your  mother  and  Miss 
Fanny  Minafer  got  the  musicians  to  play  another 
waltz  when  everybody  else  had  gone  downstairs  and 
the  fiddles  were  being  put  away  in  their  cases.  Papa 
danced  part  of  it  with  Miss  Minafer  and  the  rest  with 
your  mother.     Miss  Minafer's  your  aunt,  isn't  she? 

"Yes;  she  lives  with  us.     I  tease  her  a  good  deal. 

"What  about?" 

"Oh,  anything  handy — whatever's  easy  to  teas€ 
an  old  maid  about." 

"Do.esn't  she  mind?" 

"  She  usually  has  sort  of  a  grouch  on  me,"  laughed 
George.  "Nothing  much.  That's  our  house  just 
beyond  grandfather's."    He  waved  a  sealskin  gaunt' 



let  to  indicate  the  house  Major  Amberson  had  built 
for  Isabel  as  a  wedding  gift.  "It's  ahnost  the  same 
as  grandfather's,  only  not  as  large  and  hasn't  got  a 
regular  ballroom.  We  gave  the  dance,  last  night,  at 
grandfather's  on  account  of  the  ballroom,  and  be- 
cause I'm  the  only  grandchild,  you  know.  Of 
course,  some  day  that'll  be  my  house,  though  I  expect 
my  mother  wiU  most  likely  go  on  living  where  she 
does  now,  with  father  and  Aunt  Fanny.  I  suppose 
I'll  probably  build  a  country  house,  too — somewhere 
East,  I  guess."  He  stopped  speaking,  and  frowned 
as  they  passed  a  closed  carriage  and  pair.  The  body 
of  this  comfortable  vehicle  sagged  slightly  to  one 
side;  the  paint  was  old  and  seamed  with  hundreds  of 
minute  cracks  like  little  rivers  on  a  black  map;  the 
coachman,  a  fat  and  elderly  darky,  seemed  to 
drowse  upon  the  box;  but  the  open  window  afforded 
the  occupants  of  the  cutter  a  glimpse  of  a  tired,  fine 
old  face,  a  silk  hat,  a  pearl  tie,  and  an  astrachan 
collar,  evidently  out  to  take  the  air. 

"There's  your  grandfather  now,"  said  Lucy. 
"Isn't  it?" 

George's  frown  was  not  relaxed.  "Yes,  it  is;  and 
he  ought  to  give  that  rat-trap  away  and  seU  those 
old   horses.     They're   a   disgrace,    all   shaggj' — not 


#^en  clipped.  I  suppose  he  doesn*t  notice  it — 
people  get  awful  funny  when  they  get  old;  they  seem 
to  lose  their  self-respect,  sort  of/' 

"He  seemed  a  real  Brummell  to  me,"  she  said. 

**0h,  he  keeps  up  about  what  he  tvearSy  well 
enough,  but — ^well,  look  at  that!"  He  pointed  to  a 
statue  of  Minervai,  one  of  the  cast-iron  sculptures 
Major  Amberson  had  set  up  in  opening  the  Addition 
years  before*  Minerva  was  intact,  but  a  blackish 
streak  descended  unpleasantly  from  her  forehead  to 
the  i>oint  of  her  straight  nose,  and  a  few  other  streaks 
were  sketched  in  a  repellent  dinge  upon  the  folds  of 
her  drapery. 

"That  must  be  from  soot,"  said  Lucy.  "There 
are  so  many  houses  around  hei-e." 

"Anyhow,  somebody  ought  to  see  that  these  statues 
are  kept  clean.  My  grandfather  owns  a  good  many 
of  these  houses,  I  guess,  for  renting.  Of  course,  he 
sold  most  of  the  lots-^there  aren't  any  vacant  ones, 
and  there  used  to  be  heaps  of  'em  when  I  was  a  boy. 
Another  thing  I  don't  think  he  ought  to  allow:  a  good 
many  of  these  people  bought  big  lots  and  they  built 
houses  on  'em;  tJien  the  price  of  the  land  kept  getting 
higher,  and  they'd  sell  part  of  their  yards  and  let  the 
people  that  bought  it  build  houses  on  it  to  live  in,  till 


they  haven^t  iiardly  any  of  'em  got  big,  open  yards 
any  more;  and  it's  getting  all  too  much  built  up. 
The  way  it  used  to  be,  it  was  like  a  gentleman's 
country  estate,  and  that's  the  way  my  grandfather 
ought  to  keep  it.  He  lets  these  people  take  too  many 
liberties :  they  do  anything  they  want  to." 

"But  how  could  he  stop  them?"  Lucy  asked, 
surely  with  reason.  "If  he  sold  them  the  land,  it's 
theirs,  isn't  it?" 

George  remained  serene  in  the  face  of  this  appar- 
ently difficult  question.  "He  ought  to  have  all  the 
trades-people  boycott  the  families  that  sell  part  of 
their  yards  that  way.  All  he'd  have  to  do  would 
be  to  tell  the  trades-people  they  wouldn't  get  any 
more  orders  from  the  family  if  tiiey  didn't  do  it." 

"From  *the  family'?    What  family?"    . 

"Our  family,"  said  George,  unperturbed.  "The 

"I  see!"  she  murmured,  and  evidently  she  did  see 
something  that  he  did  not,  for,  as  she  lifted  her 
muff  to  her  face,  he  asked: 

"What  are  you  laughing  at  now?" 


"You  always  seem  to  have  some  little  secret  of 
your  own  to  get  happy  over!"  :  ^ 

-  J  J  J 


"'Always!'"  she  exclaimed.  "What  a  big  word, 
when  we  only  met  last  night!'* 

"That's  another  case  of  it,"  he  said,  with  obvious 
sincerity.  "One  of  the  reasons  I  don't  like  you — 
much! — ^is  you've  got  that  way  of  seeming  quietly 
superior  to  everybody  else." 

"I!"  she  cried.     "I  have?" 

"Oh,  you  think  you  keep  it  sort  of  confidential 
to  yourself,  but  it's  plain  enough!  I  don't  believe 
in  that  kind  of  thing." 

"You  don't?" 

"No,"  said  George  emphatically.  "Not  with  me  I 
I  think  the  world's  like  this :  there's  a  few  people  that 
their  birth  and  position,  and  so  on,  puts  them  at  the 
top,  and  they  ought  to  treat  each  other  entirely  as 
equals.".  His  voice  betrayed  a  little  emotion  as  he 
added,  "I  wouldn't  speak  like  this  to  everybody." 

"You  mean  you're  confiding  your  deepest  creed 
— or  code,  whatever  it  is — to  me?" 

"Go  on,  make  fim  of  it,  then!"  George  said  bit- 
terly. "You  do  think  you're  terribly  clever!  It 
makes  me  tired!" 

"Well,  as  you  don't  like  my  seeming  'quietly 
superior,'  after  this  I'll  be  noisily  superior,"  she  re- 
turned cheerfully.     "We  aim  to  please!" 


*  I  had  a  notion  before  I  came  for  you  to-day  that 
we  were  going  to  quarrel,"  he  said. 

"No,  we  won't;  it  takes  two!"  •  She  laughed  and 
waved  her  muff  toward  a  new  house,  not  quite  com* 
pleted,  standing  in  a  field  upon  their  right.  They 
had  passed  beyond  Amberson  Addition,  and  wer^e 
leaving  the  northern  fringes  of  the  town  for  the 
open  country.  "Isn't  that  a  beautiful  house!" 
she  exclaimed.  "Papa  and  I  call  it  our  Beautiful 

George  was  not  pleased.  "Does  it  belong  to 

"Of  course  not!  Papa  brought  me  out  here  the 
other  day,  driving  in  his  machine,  and  we  both 
loved  it.    It's  so  spacious  and  dignified  and  plain." 

"Yes,  it's  plain  enough!"  George  grunted. 

"Yet  it's  lovely;  the  gray-green  roof  and  shutters 
give  just  enough  colour,  with  the  trees,  for  the  long 
white  walls.  It  seems  to  me  the  finest  house  I've 
seen  in  this  part  of  the  country." 

George  was  outraged  by  an  enthusiasm  so  igno- 
rant— ^not  ten  minutes  ago  they  had  passed  the  Am- 
berson Mansion.  ''Is  that  a  sample  of  your  taste 
in  architecture?"  he  asked. 

"Yes.    Why?" 


"Because  it  strikes  me  you  better  go  somewhere 
and  study  the  subject  a  little!" 
Lucy  looked  puzzled.     "What  makes  you  have  so 


much  feeling  about  it?    Have  I  offended  you?'* 

"  *Off ended'  nothing ! ' '  George  returned  brusquely . 
"Girls  usually  think  they  know  it  all  as  soon 
as  they've  learned  to  dance  and  dress  and  flirt  a 
little.  They  never  know  anything  about  things  like 
architecture,  for  instance.  That  house  is  about 
as  bum  a  house  as  any  house  I  ever  saw!" 


"*Why?'"  George  repeated  "Di<^  yov  ask  me 


"Well,  for  one  thing — "  he  paused — "for  one 
thing: — ^well,  j«»tlook  at  it!  I  shouldn't  think  you'd 
have  to  do  any  more  than  look  at  it  if  you'd  ever 
given  any  attention  to  architecture." 

"What  is  the  matter  with  its  architecture,  Mr, 

"WeU,  it's  this  way,"  said  George.  "It's  like 
this.  Well,  for  instance,  that  house — ^well,  it  was 
built  like  a  town  house."  He  spoke  of  it  in  the  past 
tense,  because  they  had  now  left  it  far  behind  them 
p:-a  human  habit  of  curious  significance.     "It  was 


like  a  house  meant  for  a  street  in  the  city.  What 
kind  of  a  house  was  that  for  people  of  any  taste  to 
build  out  here  in  the  country?" 

'^But  papa  says  it's  built  that  way  on  purpose. 
There  are  a  lot  of  other  houses  being  built  in  this 
direction,  and  papa  says  the  city's  coming  out  thir 
way;  and  in  a  year  or  two  that  house  will  be  right  in 

"It  was  a  bum  house,  anyhow,"  said  George 
crossly.  "I  don't  even  know  the  people  that  are 
building  it.  They  say  a  lot  of  riffraff  come  to  town 
every  year  nowadays  and  there's  other  riffraff  that 
have  always  lived  here,  and  have  made  a  little 
money,  and  act  as  if  they  owned  the  place.  Uncle 
Sydney  was  talking  about  it  yesterday:  he  says  he 
and  some  of  his  friends  are  organizing  a  country  club, 
and  already  some  of  these  riffraff  are  worming  into 
it — people  he  never  heard  of  at  all !  Anyhow,  I  guess 
it's  pretty  clear  you  don't  know  a  great  deal  about 

She  demonstrated  the  completeness  of  her  amia- 
bility by  laughing.  "I'll  know  something  about  the 
North  Pole  before  long,"  she  said,  "if  we  keep  going 
much  farther  in  this  direction!" 

At  this  he  was  remorseful.    "All  right,  we'll  turn 


and  drive  south  awhile  till  you  get  wanned  up 
again.  I  expect  we  have  been  going  against  the 
wind  about  long  enough.    Indeed,  I'm  sorry!'' 

He  said,  "Indeed,  I'm  sorry,"  in  a  nice  way,  and 
looked  very  strikingly  handsome  when  he  said  it, 
she  thought.  No  doubt  it  is  true  that  there  is  more 
rejoicing  in  heaven  over  one  sinner  repented  than 
over  all  the  saints  who  consistently  remain  holy,  and 
the  rare,  sudden  gentlenesses  of  arrogant  people  have 
infinitely  more  effect  than  the  continual  gentleness 
of  gentle  people.  Arrogance  turned  gentle  melts 
the  heart;  and  Lucy  gave  her  companion  a  little 
sidelong,  sunny  nod  of  acknowledgment.  George 
was  dazzled  by  the  quick  glow  of  her  eyes,  and  fount> 
himself  at  a  loss  for  something  to  say. 

Having  turned  about,  he  kept  his  horse  to  a  walk, 
and  at  this  gait  the  sleighbells  tinkled  but  inter- 
mittently. Gleaming  wanly  through  the  whitish 
vapour  that  kept  rising  from  the  trotter's  body  and 
flanks,  they  were  like  tiny  fog-bells,  and  made  the 
only  sounds  in  a  great  winter  silence.  The  white 
road  ran  between  lonesome  rail  fences;  and  frozen 
barnyards  beyond  the  fences  showed  sometimes  a 
harrow  left  to  rust,  with  its  iron  seat  half  filled  with 
stiffened  snow,  and  sometimes  an  old  dead  buggy« 


?ts  wheels  forever  set,  it  seemed,  in  the  solid  ice  of 
deep  ruts.  Chickens  scratched  the  metalhc  earth 
with  an  air  of  protest,  and  a  masterless  ragged  colt 
looked  up  in  sudden  horror  at  the  mild  tinkle  oi 
the  passing  bells,  then  blew  fierce  clouds  of  steam 
at  the  sleigh.  The  snow  no  longer  fell,  and  far 
ahead,  in  a  grayish  cloud  that  lay  upon  the  land,  was 
the  town. 

Luc*y  looked  at  this  distant  thickening  reflec- 
tion. "When  we  get  this  far  out  we  can  see 
there  must  be  quite  a  little  smoke  hanging  over 
the  town,"  she  said.  "I  suppose  that's  because  it's 
growing.  As  it  grows  bigger  it  seems  to  get  ashamed 
of  itself,  so*  it  makes  this  cloud  and  hides  in  it. 
Papa  says  it  used  to  be  a  bit  nicer  when  he  lived  here : 
he  always  speaks  of  it  differently — ^he  always  has  a 
gentle  look,  a  particular  tone  of  voice,  I've  noticed. 
He  must  have  been  very  fond  of  it.  It  must  have 
been  a  lovely  place:  everybody  must  have  been  so 
jolly.  From  the  way  he  talks,  you'd  think  life  here 
then  was  just  one  long  midsummer  serenade.  He 
declares  it  was  always  simshiny,  that  the  air  wasn't 
Kke  the  air  anywhere  else — ^that,  as  he  remembers  it, 
there  always  seemed  to  be  gold-dust  in  the  air.  I 
doubt  it!    I  think  it  doesn't  seem  to  be  duller  air  to 


him  now  just  on  account  of  having  a  little  soot  in  it 
sometimes,  but  probably  because  he  was  twenty 
years  younger  then.  It  seems  to  me  the  gold-dust  he 
thinks  was  here  is  just  his  being  young  that  he 
remembers.  I  think  it  was  just  youth.  It  is  pretty 
pleasant  to  be  young,  isn*t  it?"  She  laughed  ab- 
sently, then  appeared  to  become  wistful.  "  I  wonder  if 
we  really  do  enjoy  it  as  much  as  we'll  look  back  and 
think  we  did!  I  don't  suppose  so.  Anyhow,  for  my 
part  I  feel  as  if  I  must  be  missing  something  about  it, 
somehow,  because  I  don't  ever  seem  to  be  thinking 
about  what's  happening  at  the  present  moment; 
I'm  always  looking  forward  to  something — thinking 
about  things  that  will  happen  when  I'm^older." 

"You're  a  funny  girl,"  George  said  gently. 
"But  your  voice  sounds  pretty  nice  when  you  think 
and  talk  along  together  like  that!'^ 

The  horse  shook  himself  all  over,  and  the  impa- 
tient sleighbells  made  his  wish  audible.  Accord- 
ingly>  George  tightened  the  reins,  and  the  cutter 
was  off  again  at  a  three-minute  trot,  no  despicable 
rate  of  speed.  It  was  not  long  before  they  were 
again  passing  Lucy's  Beautiful  House,  and  here 
George  thought  fit  to  put  an  appendix  to  his 
remark.     "You're  a  funny  girl,  and  you  know  a  lot 


— ^but  I  don't  believe  you  know  much  about  archi- 

Coming  toward  them,  black  against  the  snowy 
road,  was  a  strange  silhouette.  It  approached  mod« 
erately  and  without  visible  means  of  progression,  so 
the  matter  seemed  from  a  distance;  but  as  the  cuttef 
shortened  the  distance,  the  silhouette  was  revealed 
to  be  Mr.  Morgan's  horseless  carriage,  conveying 
four  people  atop:  Mr.  Morgan  with  George's 
mother  beside  him,  and,  in  the  rear  seat,  Miss  Fanny 
Minafer  and  the  Honorable  George  Amberson.  All 
four  seemed  to  be  in  the  liveliest  humour,  like  high- 
spirited  people  upon  a  new  adventure;  and  Isabel 
waved  her  handkerchief  dashingly  as.  the  cutter 
flashed  by  them. 

"For  the  Lord's  sake!"  George  gasped. 

"Your  mother's  a  dear,"  said  Lucy.  "And  she 
does  wear  the  most  bewitching  things  I  She  looked 
(ike  a  Russian  princess,  though  I  doubt  if  they^re  that 

George  said  nothing;  he  drove  on  till  they  had 
crossed  Amberson  Addition  and  reached  the  stone 
pillars  at  the  head  of  National  Avenue.  There  he 

"Let's  go  back  and  take  another  look  at  that  old 


sewing-machine/'    he    said,     "It    certainlj-    is    thrr- 
weirdest,  craziest " 

He  left   the   sentence   unfinished,  and   presently 
they  were  again  in  sight  of  the  old  sewing-machine 
George  shouted  mockingly. 

Alas!  three  figures  stood  in  the  road,  and  a  pair 
of  legs,  with  the  toes  turned  up,  indicated  that  a 
fourth  figure  lay  upon  its  back  in  the  snow,  beneath 
a  horseless  carriage  that  had  decided  to  need  a 

George  became  vociferous  with  laughter,  and 
coming  up  at  his  trotter's  best  gait,  snow  spraying 
from  runners  and  every  hoof,  swerved  to  the  side  of 
the  road  and  shot  by,  shouting,  "Git  a  boss!  Git  a 
boss!     Git  a  boss!" 

Three  hundred  yards  away  he  turned  and  came 
back,  racing;  leaning  out  as  he  passed,  to  wave 
jeeringly  at  the  group  about  the  disabled  machine: 
"  Git  a  boss !     Git  a  boss !     Git  a '' 

The  trotter  had  broken  into  a  gallop,  and  Lucy 
cried  a  warning:  "Be  careful!"  she  said.  "Look 
where  you're  driving!  There's  a  ditch  on  that  side. 
Look " 

Geoige  turned  too  late;  the  cutter's  right  runner 
vent  into  the  ditch  and  snapped  off;  the  little  sleigh 


upset,  and,  after  dragging  its  occupants  some 
fifteen  yards,  left  them  lying  together  in  a  bank  of 
snow.  Then  the  vigorous  young  horse  kicked  him- 
self free  of  all  annoyances,  and  disappeared  down  the 
road,  galloping  cheerfully. 


WHEN  George  regained  some  measure  of  hia 
presence  of  mind.  Miss  Lucy  Morgan's 
cheek,  snowy  and  cold,  was  pressing  his 
nose  slightly  to  one  side;  his  right  arm  was  firmly 
about  her  neck;  and  a  monstrous  amount  of  her  fur 
boa  seemed  to  mingle  with  an  equally  unplausible 
quantity  of  snow  in  his  mouth.  He  was  confused, 
but  conscious  of  no  objection  to  any  of  these  juxta- 
positions. She  was  apparently  uninjured,  for  she  sat 
up,  hatless,  her  hair  down,  and  said  mildly : 
"Good  heavens!" 

Though  her  father  had  been  imder  his  machine 
when  they  passed,  he  was  the  first  to  reach  them. 
He  threw  himself  on  his  knees  beside  his  daughter, 
but  found  her  already  laughing,  and  was  reassured. 
"They're  all  right,"  he  called  to  Isabel,  who  was 
running  toward  them,  ahead  of  her  brother  and 
Fanny  Minafer.  "This  snowbank's  a  feather  bed 
— ^nothing  the  matter  with  them  at  all.  Don't  look 
so  pale!" 



"Georgie!"  she  gasped.     ^^Georgiel^* 

Georgie  was  on  his  feet,  snow  all  over  him. 

"Don't  make  a  fuss,  mother!  Nothing's  the  mat- 
ter.    That  darned  silly  horse " 

Sudden  tears  stood  in  Isabel's  eyes.     "To  see 

you  down  underneath — dragging — oh! "    Then 

with  shaking  hands  she  began  to  brush  the  snow 
from  him. 

"Let  me  alone,"  he  protested.  "You'll  ruin 
your  gloves.  You're  getting  snow  all  over  you, 
and- " 

"No,  no!"  she  eriedc  "You'll  catch  cold;  you 
mustn't  catch  cold!"  And  she  continued  to  brush 

Amberson  had  brought  Lucy's  hat;  Miss  Fanny 
acted  as  lady's-maid;  and  both  victims  of  the  acci- 
dent were  presently  restored  to  about  their  usual 
appearance  and  condition  of  apparel.  In  fact, 
encouraged  by  the  two  older  gentlemen,  the  entire 
party,  with  one  exception,  decided  that  the  episode 
was  after  all  a  merry  one,  and  began  to  laugh  about 
it.  But  George  was  glummer  than  the  December 
height  now  swiftly  closing  in. 

"That  darned  horse!"  he  said. 

"I  wouldn't  bother  about   Pendennis,  Georgia,** 


ssiid  his  uncle.  ^^  You  can  send  a  man  out  for  what*3 
left  of  the  cutter  to-morrow,  and  Pendennis  will 
gallop  straight  home  to  his  stable:  he'll  be  there  a 
long  while  before  we  will,  because  all  we've  got  to 
depend  on  to  get  us  home  is  Gene  Morgan's  broken- 
down  chafing-dish  yonder." 

They  were  approaching  the  machine  as  he  spoke, 
and  his  friend,  again  underneath  it,  heard  him.  He 
emerged,  smiling.     "She'll  go,"  he  said. 


"AU  aboard!" 

•  He  offered  his  hand  to  Isabel.  She  was  smiling  but 
«till  pale,  and  her  eyes,  in  spite  of  the  smile,  kept 
upon  George  in  a  shocked  anxiety.  Miss  Fanny 
had  already  mounted  to  the  rear  seat,  and  George, 
after  helping  Lucy  Morgan  to  climb  up  beside  his 
aimt,  was  following.  Isabel  saw  that  his  shoes  were 
light  things  of  patent  leather,  and  that  snow  was 
clinging  to  them.  She  made  a  little  rush  toward 
him,  and,  as  one  of  his  feet  rested  on  the  iron  step  of 
the  machine,  in  mounting,  she  began  to  clean  the 
snow  from  his  shoe  with  her  almost  aerial  lace  hand- 
kerchief.    "You  mustn't  catch  cold!"  she  cried. 

"Stop  that!"  George  shouted,  and  furiously  with- 
drew his  foot. 


"^Then  stamp  the  snow  off,"  she  begged.     "Yo« 
mustn't  ride  with  wet  feet." 

"They're  not!"  Geoi^e  roared,  thoroughly  out- 
raged. "For  heaven^s  sake  get  ini  You're  stianding 
in  the  snow  yourself.     Get  in !  '^ 

Isabel  consented,  turning  to  Morgan,  whose  habit- 
ual expression  of  apprehensiveness  was  somewhat 
accentuated.  He  climbed  up  after  her,  George 
Amberson  having  gone  to  the  other  side.  "You're 
the  same  Isabel  I  used  to  know!"  he  said  in  a  low 
voice.     "You're  a  divinely  ridiculous  woman." 

"Am  I,  Eugene?"  she  said,  not  displeased. 
"*Divinely'  and  ^ridiculous'  just  coimterbalance 
each  other,  don't  they?  Plus  one  and  minus  one 
equal  nothing;  so  you  mean  I'm  nothing  in  par- 

"No,"  he  answered,  tugging  at  a  lever.  "That 
doesn't  seem  to  be  precisely  what  I  meant.  There! " 
This  exclamation  referred  to  the  subterranean 
machinery,  for  dismaying  sounds  came  from  beneath 
the  floor,  and  the  vehicle  plunged,  then  rolled  noisily 

"Behold!"  George  Amberson  exclaimed.  "She 
does  move! .  It  must  be  another  accident." 

"  ^Accident? ' "     Morgan    shouted   over   the   din. 


'^No!  She  breathes,  she  stirs;  she  seems  to  feel 
a  thrill  of  life  along  her  keel!"  And  he  began  to 
sing  "The  Star  Spangled  Banner." 

Amberson  joined  him  lustily,  and  sang  on  when 
Morgan  stopped.  The  twilight  sky  cleared,  dis- 
covering a  round  moon  already  risen;  and  the 
musical  congressman  hailed  this  bright  presence 
with  the  complete  text  and  melody  of  "The  Danube 

His  nephew,  behind,  was  gloomy.  He  had  over- 
heard his  mother's  conversation  with  the  inventor: 
it  seemed  curious  to  him  that  this  Morgan,  of  whom 
he  had  never  heard  imtil  last  night,  should  be  using 
tlie  name  "Isabel"  so  easily;  and  George  felt  that  it 
was  not  just  the  thing  for  his  mother  to  call  Morgan 
** Eugene;"  the  resentment  of  the  previous  night 
came  upon  George  again.  Meanwhile,  his  mother 
and  Morgan  continued  their  talk;  but  he  could  no 
longer  hear  what  they  said;  the  noise  of  the  car  and 
his  imcle's  songful  mood  prevented.  He  marked 
how  animated  Isabel  seemed;  it  was  not  strange  to 
see  his  mother  so  gay,  but  it  was  strange  that  a  man 
not  of  the  family  should  be  the  cause  of  her  gaiety. 
And  George  sat  frowning. 

Fanny   Minafer  had   begun   to   talk   to   Lucy. 


"Your  father  wanted  to  prove  that  his  horselees 
riimage  would  run,  even  in  the  snow/'  she  said. 
"It  really  does,  too/* 

"Of  course!" 

"  It's  so  interesting !  He's  been  telling  us  how  he's 
going  to  change  it.  He  says  he's  going  to  have 
wheels  all  made  of  rubber  and  blown  up  with  air. 
I  don't  understand  what  he  means  at  all;  I  should 
think  they'd  explode — ^but  Eugene  seems  to  be  very 
confident.  He  always  was  confident,  though.  It 
seems  so  like  old  times  to  hear  him  talk!" 

She  became  thoughtful,  and  Lucy  turned  to  George. 
"You  tried  to  swing  underneath  me  and  break  the 
fall  for  me  when  we  went  over,"  she  said.  "I  knew 
you  were  doing  that,  and — ^it  was  nice  of  you." 

"Wasn't  any  fall  to  speak  of,"  he  returned  brus- 
quely.    "Couldn't  have  hurt  either  of  us." 

"Still  it  was  friendly  of  you — and  awfully  quick, 
too.     I'll  not— I'll  not  forge*t  it!" 

Her  voice  had  a  sound  of  genuineness,  very  pleas- 
ant; and  George  began  to  forget  his  annoyance  with 
her  father.  This  annoyance  of  his  had  not  been 
alleviated  by  the  circumstance  that  neither  of  the 
seats  of  the  old  sewing-machine  was  designed  for. 
three  people,  but  when  his  neighbour  spoke  thus 


gratefuUy,  he  no  longer  minded  tbe  crowding^in 
fact,  it  pleased  him  so  much  that  he  began  to  wish 
the  old  sewing-machine  would  go  even  slower.  And 
she  had  spoken  no  word  of  blame  for  his  letting  that 
darned  horse  get  the  cutter  into  the  ditch.  George 
presently  addressed  her  hurriedly,  almost  tremu- 
lously, speaking  close  to  her  ear: 

"  I  forgot  to  tell  you  something :  you're  pretty  nice  • 
I  thought  so  the  first  second  I  saw  you  last  night. 
I'll  come  for  you  to-night  and  take  you  to  the 
Assembly  at  the  Amberson  Hotel.  You're  going, 
aren't  you?" 

"Yes,  but  I'm  going  with  papa  and  the  Sharons 
I'll  see  you  there." 

"Looks  to  me  as  if  you  were  awfully  convep- 
tional,"  George  grumbled;  and  his  disappointment 
was  deeper  than  he  was  willing  to  let  her  see — ^though 
she  probably  did  see.  "Well,  we'll  dance  the  co- 
tillion together,  anyhow^" 

"I'm  afraid  not.     I  promised  Mr.  Kinney." 

*^What!**  George's  tone  was  shocked,  as  at  in- 
credible news.  "Well,  you  could  break  that  en- 
gagement, I  guess,  if  you  wanted  to!  Girls  always 
can  get  out  of  things  when  they  want  to.  Won't 


'I  don't  think  so/' 

-^  Why  not?" 

"Because  I  promised  him.     Several  days  ago.'* 

George  gulped,  and  lowered  his  pride,  "I  don't 
— oh,  look  here!  I  only  want  to  go  to  that  thing 
to-night  to  get  to  see  something  of  you;  and  if  you 
don't  dance  the  cotillion  with  me,  how  can  I?  I'll 
only  be  here  two  weeks,  and  the  others  have  got  all 
the  rest  of  your  visit  to  see  you.  WonH  you  do  it, 

"I  couldn't." 

"See  here!"  said  the  stricken  George.  "If  you're 
going  to  decb'ne  to  dance  that  cotillion  with  me 
simply  because  you've  promised  a — a — a  miserable 
red-headed  outsider  like  Fred  Kinney,  why  we  might 
as  well  quit ! " 

"Quit  what?" 

"You  know  perfectly  well  what  I  mean,"  he  said 

"I  don't." 

"Well,  you  ought  to!" 

"But  I  don't  at  all!" 

George,  thoroughly  hurt,  and  not  a  little  embit- 
tered,  expressed  himself  in  a  short  outburst  of 
laughter:     "Well,  I  ought  to  have  seen  it!" 


"Seen  what?'' 

"That  you  miisht  turn  out  to  be  a  girl  who'd  like 
a  fellow  of  the  red-headed  Kinney  sort.  I  ought 
to  have  seen  it  from  the  first!" 

Lucy  bore  her  disgrace  lightly.  "Oh,  dancing  a 
cotillion  with  a  person  doesn't  mean  that  you  like  him 
— but  I  don't  see  anything  in  particular  the  matter 
with  Mr.  Kinney.     What  is?" 

"If  you  don't  see  anything  the  matter  with  him 
for  yourself,"  George  responded,  icily,  "I  don't 
think  pointing  it  out  would  help  you.  You  prob- 
ably wouldn't  understand." 

"You  might  try,"  she  suggested.  "Of  course 
I'm  a  stranger  here,  and  if  people  have  done  any^ 
thing  wrong  or  have  something  unpleasant  about 
them,  I  wouldn't  have  any  way  of  knowing  it,  just  at 
first.    If  poor  Mr.  Kinney " 

"I  prefer  not  to  discuss  it,"  said  George  curtly. 
**He*s  an  enemy  of  mine." 


"I  prefer  not  to  discuss  it.** 

**WeU,  but '* 

**  I  prefer  not  to  discuss  it !  '* 
"Very  well."    She  began  to  hum  the  air  of  the 
fiong  which  Mr.  George  Amberson  was  now  disoouis- 


ing,  **0  moon  of  my  delight  that  knows  no  wane" — 
and  there  was  no  further  conversation  on  the  back  seat. 

They  had  entered  Amberson  Addition,  and  the 
moon  of  Mr.  Amberson's  dehght  was  overlaid  by  a 
s'epder  Gothic  filagree;  the  branches  that  sprang 
from  the  shade  trees  lining  the  street.  Through 
the  windows  of  many  of  the  houses  rosy  h'ghts  were 
flickering;  and  silver  tinsel  and  evergreen  wreaths 
and  brilliant  little  glass  globes  of  silver  and  .wine 
colour  could  be  seen,  and  glimpses  were  caught  of 
Christmas  trees,  with  people  decking  them  by  fire- 
light— ^reminders  that  this  was  Christmas  Eve. 
The  ride-stealers  had  disappeared  from  the  highway, 
though  now  and  then,  over  the  gasping  and  howling 
of  the  horseless  carriage,  there  came  a  shriU  jeer 
from  some  young  passer-by  upon  the  sidewalk: 

^^  Mister,  fer  heaven's  sake  go  an'  git  a  hossl 
Gitahoss!    Gitahoss!" 

The  contrivance  stopped  with  a  heart-shaking 
jerk  before  Isabel's  house.  The  gentlemen  jumped 
down,  helping  Isabel  and  Fanny  to  descend;  there 
were  friendly  leavetakings — and  one  that  was  not 
precisely  friendly. 

"It's  *au  revoir,'  till  to-night,  isn't  it?"  Lucy 
•flked,  laughing. 


"Good  afternoon!"  said  George,  and  he  did  not 
wait,  as  his  relatives  did,  to  see  the  old  sewing- 
machine  start  briskly  down  the  street,  toward  the 
Sharons';  its  Ughter  load  consisting  now  of  only  Mr. 
Morgan  and  his  daughter.  George  went  into  the 
house  at  once. 

He  found  his  father  reading  the  evening  paper  in 
the  library.  "Where  are  your  mother  and  your 
Aimt  Fanny?  "  Mr.  Minafer  inquired,  not  looking  up. 

"They're  coming,"  said  his  son;  and,  casting  him- 
self heavily  into  a  chair,  stared  at  the  fire. 

His  prediction  was  verified  a  few  moments  later; 
the  two  ladies  came  in  cheerfully,  unfastening  their 
fur  cloaks.  "It's  all  right,  Georgie,"  said  Isabel. 
"Your  Uncle  George  called  to  us  that  Fendennis 
got  home  safely.  Put  your  shoes  close  to  the  fire, 
dear,  or  else  go  and  change  them."  She  went  to 
her  husband  and  patted  him  lightly  on  the  shoulder, 
pn  action  which  George  watched  with  sombre 
moodiness.  "You  might  dress  before  long,"  she 
suggested.  "We're  all  going  to  the  Assembly,  after 
dinner,  aren't  we?  Brother  George  said  he'd  go 
with  us.** 

"Look  here,"  said  George  abruptly.  "How  about 
this   man   Morgan    and   his   old   sewing-machine2 


Doesn't  he  want  to  get  grandfather  to  put  money 
into  it?  Isn't  he  trying  to  work  Uncle  George  for 
that?    Isn't  that  what  he's  up  to?" 

It  was  Miss  Fanny  who  responded.  "You  little 
siUy ! "  she  cried,  with  surprising  sharpness.  "  What 
on  earth  are  you  talking  about?    Eugene  Morgan's 


perfectly  able  to  finance  his  own  inventions  these 

"I'll  bet  he  borrows  money  of  Unde  Georgejt'* 
the  nephew  insisted. 

Isabel  looked  at  him  in  grave  perplexity.  "Whj 
do  you  say  such  a  thing,  George?"  she  asked. 

"He  strikes  meas  that  sort  of  man»"  he  answered 
doggedly.     "Isn't  he,  father?" 

Minafer  set  down  his  paper  for  the  moment.  "He 
was  a  fairly  wild  young  fellow  twenty  years  ago,"  he 
said,  glancing  at  his  wife  absently.  "He  was  like 
you  in  one  thing,  Georgie;  he  spent  too  much  money 
—only  he  didn't  have  any  mother  to  get  money 
out  of  a  grandfather  for  him,  so  he  was  usually  in 
debt.  But  I  believe  I've  heard  he's  done  fairly  well 
of  late  years.  No,  I  can't  say  I  think  he's  a  swindler, 
and  I  doubt  if  he  needs  anybody  else's  money  to 
back  his  horseless  carriage." 

*Well,  what's  he  brought  the  old  thing  here  for. 


then?  People  that  own  elephants  don't  take  th^ 
elephants  around  with  'em  when  they  go  visiting. 
What's  he  got  it  here  for? " 

I  "I'm  sure  I  don't  know,"  said  Mr.  Minaler, 
resuming  his  paper.     "You  might  ask  him." 

Isabel  laughed  and  patted  her  husband's  shoulder 


Bgain.  "Aren't  you  going  to  dress?  Aren't  we  all 
going  to  the  dance?" 

He  groaned  faintly.  "Ar^a't  your  brother  and 
€reorgie  escorts  enough  for  you  and  Fanny?" 

"Wouldn't  you  enjoy  it  at  all?" 

"You  know  I  don't." 

Isabel  let  her  hand  remain  upon  his  shoulder  a 
moment  longer;  she  stood  behind  him,  looking 
into  the  fire,  and  Greoi^e,  watching  her  broodingly, 
thought  there  was  more  colour  in  her  face  than  the 
reflection  of  the  flames  accounted  for.  "Well,  then," 
she  said  indulgently,  "stay  at  home  and  be  happy. 
We  won't  urge  you  if  you'd  really  rather  not." 

"I  really  wouldn't,"  he  said  contentedly. 

Half  an  hour  later,  George  was  passing  through  the 
upper  hall,  in  a  bath-robe  stage  of  preparation  for 
the  evening's  gaieties,  when  he  encoimtered  his  Aunt 
Fanny.    He  stopped  her.     "Look  here!"  he  said. 

"What  in  the  world  is  the  matter  with  you?"  she 


demanded,  regarding  him  with  little  amiability. 
^^  You  look  as  if  you  were  rehearsing  for  a  villain  in 
a  play.    Do  change  yoiw  expression!** 

His  expression  gave  no  sign  of  yielding  to  the  re< 
quest;  on  the  contrary,  its  sombreness  deepened'^ 
"I  suppose  you  don't  know  why  father  doesn't 
want  to  go  to-night/'  he  said  solemnly.  ""  You're 
his  only  sister,  and  yet  you  don't  know!" 

**He  never  wants  to  go  anywhere  that  I  ever 
heard  of,"  said  Fanny.  ^^What  is  the  matter  with 

^^He  doesn't  want  to  go  because  he  doesn't  like 
this  -man  Morgan." 

"Good  gracious!"  Fanny  cried  impatiently. 
"Eugene  Morgan  isn't  in  your  father's  thoughts  at 
all,  one  way  or  the  other.     Why  should  he  be?" 

George    hesitated.     "Well — ^it    strikes    me 

Look  here,  what  makes  you  and — and  everybody 
— so  excited  over  him?" 

"'Excited!'"  she  jeered.  "Can't  people  be  glad 
to  see  an  old  friend  without  silly  children  like  you 
having  to  make  a  to-do  about  it?  I've  just  been  in 
your  mother's  room  suggesting  that  she  might  give 
a  little  dinner  for  them " 

"For  who?" 


**For  whoTTiy  Georgie!  For  Mr.  Morgan  and  his 

"Look  here!"  George  said  quickly.  "Don't  do 
that!  Mother  mustn't  do  that.  It  wouldn't  look 

"'Wouldn't  look  well!'"  Fanny  mocked  him; 
and  her  suppressed  vehemence  betrayed  a  surprising 
acerbity.  "See  h^e,  Georgie  Minafer,  I  suggest  that 
you  just  march  straight  on  into  your  room  and  fin- 
ish  your  dressing!    Sometimes  you  say  things  that 

show  you  have  a  pretty  mean  little  mind! " 
George  was  so  astounded  by  this  outburst  that  his 

indignation  was  delayed  by  his  curiosity.     "Why, 

what  upsets  you  this  way?"  he  inquired. 

"I  know  what  you  mean,"  she  said,  her  voice  still 
lowered,  but  not  decreasing  in  sharpness.  "You're 
trying  to  insinuate  that  I'd  get  your  mother  to  in- 
vite Eugene  Morgan  here  on  my  accoimt  because  he's 
a  widower!" 

"I  aw.^"  George  gasped,  nonplussed.  "I'm  try- 
ing to  insinuate  that  you're  setting  your  cap  at  him 
and  getting  mother  to  help  you?  Is  that  what  you 

Beyond  a  doubt  that  was  what  Miss  Fanny 
meant.    She  gave  him  a   white-hot  look.    "You 


attend  to  your  own  affairs!"  she  whispered  fiercely, 
and  swept  away. 

George,  dumfounded,  returned  to  his  room  for 

He  had  lived  for  years  in  the  same  house  with  his 
Aunt  Fanny,  and  it  now  appeared  that  during  all 
those  years  he  had  been  thus  intimately  associating 
with  a  total  stranger.  Never  before  had  he  met  the 
passionate  lady  with  whom  he  had  just  held  a  conver- 
sation in  the  hall.  So  she  wanted  to  get  married! 
And  wanted  George's  mother  to  help  her  with  this 
horseless-carriage  widower! 

"Well,  I  tmU  be  shot!"  he  muttered  aloud.  "I 
will — ^I  certainly  will  be  shot!"  And  he  began  to 
laugh.     "Lord    ^mighty!" 

But  presently,  at  the  thought  of  the  horseless- 
carriage  widower's  daughter,  his  grimness  returned, 
and  he  resolved  upon  a  line  of  conduct  for  the  even- 
ing. He  would  nod  to  her  carelessly  when  he  first 
saw  her;  and,  after  that,  he  would  notice  her  no  more : 
he  would  not  dance  with  her;  he  would  not  favour 
her  in  the  cotillion — ^he  would  not  go  near  her! 

.  .  .  He  descended  to  dinner  upon  the  third 
urgent  summons  of  a  coloured  butler,  having  spent 
two  hours  dressing— and  rehearsing. 


THE  Honourable  George  Amberson  was  a 
congressman  who  led  cotillions — ^the  sort  of 
congressman  an  Amberson  would  be.  He 
did  it  negligently,  to-night,  yet  with  infallible  dex- 
terity, now  and  then  glancing  humorously  at  the 
spectators,  people  of  his  own  age.  They  were 
seated  in  a  tropical  grove  at  one  end  of  the  room 
whither  they  had  retired  at  the  beginning  of  the  co- 
tiUion,  which  they  surrendered  entirely  to  the 
twenties  and  the  late  'teens.  And  here,  grouped 
with  that  stately  pair,  Sydney  and  Amelia  Am- 
berson, sat  Isabel  with  Fanny,  while  Eugene  Morgan 
appeared  to  bestow  an  amiable  devotion  impartially 
upon  the  three  sisters-in-law.  Fanny  watched  his 
face  eagerly,  laughing  at  everything  he  said;  Amelia 
smiled  blandly,  but  rather  because  of  graeiousness 
than  because  of  interest;  while  Isabel,  looking  out  at 
the  dancers,  rhythmically  moved  a  great  fan  of  blue 
ostrich  feathers,  listened  to  Eugene  thoughtfully,  yet 
all  the  while  kept  her  shining  eyes  on  Georgie. 



Georgia  had  carried  out  his  rehearsed  project? 
with  precision.  He  had  given  Miss  Morgan  a  nod 
studied  into  perfection  during  his  lengthy  toilet 
before  dinner.  "Oh,  yes,  I  do  seem  to  remember 
that  curious  h'ttle  outsider!"  this  nod  seemed  to  say. 
Thereafter,  all  cognizance  of  her  evaporated:  the 
curious  Kttle  outsider  was  permitted  no  further  ex- 
istence  worth  the  struggle.  Nevertheless,  she  flashed 
in  the  comer  of  his  eye  too  often.  He  was  aware  of 
her  dancing  demurely,  ^nd  of  her  viciously  flirtatious 
habit  of  never  looking  up  at  her  partner,  but  keeping 
her  eyes  concealed  beneath  downcast  lashes;  and  he 
had  over-sufficient  consciousness  of  her  between  the 
dances,  though  it  was  not  possible  to  see  her  at  these 
times,  even  if  he  had  cared  to  look  frankly  in  her 
direction — she  was  invisible  in  a  thicket  of  young 
dresscoats.  The  black  thicket  moved  as  she  moved, 
and  her  location  was  hatefully  apparent,  even  if  he 
had  not  heard  her  voice  laughing  from  the  thicket. 
It  was  annoying  how  her  voice,  though  never  loudf 
pursued  him.  No  matter  how  vociferous  were  other 
voices,  all  about,  he  seemed  unable  to  prevent  himseli 
from  constantly  recognizing  hers.  It  had  a  quaver 
in  it,  not  pathetic^— rather  humorous  than  pathetic 
— a  quality  which  annoyed  him  to  the  point  of  rage. 

^  I 


,  because  it  was  so  difficult  to  get  away  from.     She 
seemed  to  be  having  a  "wonderful  time!" 

An  unbearable  soreness  accumulated  in  his  chest: 
his  dislike  of  the  girl  and  her  conduct  increased  until 
he  thought  of  leaving  this  sickening  Assembly  and 
going  home  to  bed.  That  would  show  her!  But 
just  then  he  heard  her  laughing,  and  decided  that  it 
wouldn't  show  her.     So  he  remained. 

When  the  young  couples  seated  themselves  in 
chairs  against  the  walls,  round  three  sides  of  the 
room,  for  the  cotillion,  George  joined  a  brazen-faced 
group  clustering  about  the  doorway — ^youths  with  no 
partners,  yet  ehgible  to  be  "called  out"  and  fa- 
voured. He  marked  that  his  uncle  placed  the  infernal 
Kinney  and  Miss  Morgan,  as  the  leading  couple^ 
in  the  first  chairs  at  the  head  of  the  line  upon  the 
leader's  right;  and  this  disloyalty  on  the  part  of  Uncle 
George  was  inexcusable,  for  in  the  family  circle  the 
nephew  had  often  expressed  his  opinion  of  Pred 
Kinney.  In  his  bitterness,  George  uttered  a  signifi- 
cant monosyllable. 

The  music  fiourished;  whereupon  Mr.  Kinney, 
Miss  Morgan,  and  six  of  their  neighbours  rose  and 
waltzed  knowingly.  Mr.  Amberson's  whistle  blew; 
then  the  eight  young  people  went  to  the  favour- 


table  and  were  given  toys  and  trinkets  wherewith  to 
delight  the  new  partners  it  was  now  their  privilege 
to  select.  Around  the  walls,  the  seated  non-parti- 
cipants in  this  ceremony  looked  rather  conscious; 
some  chattered,  endeavouring  not  to  appear  expect- 
ant; some  tried  not  to  look  wistful;  and  others  were 
frankly  solemn.  It  was  a  trying  moment;  and 
whoever  secured  a  favour,  this  very  first  shot,  might 
consider  the  portents  happy  for  a  successful  evening. 

Holding  their  twinkUng  gewgaws  in  their  hands, 
those  about  to  bestow  honour  came  toward  the  seated 
.lines,  where  expressions  became  feverish.  Two  of 
the  approaching  girls  seemed  to  wander,  not  finding 
a  predetermined  object  in  sight;  and  these  two  were 
Janie  Sharon,  and  her  cousin,  Lucy.  At  this, 
George  Amberson  Minafer,  conceiving  that  he  had 
little  to  anticipate  from  either,  turned  a  proud  back 
upon  the  room  and  aflfected  to  converse  with  his 
friend,  Mr.  Charlie  Johnson. 

The  next  moment  a  quick  little  figure  intervened 
between  the  two.  It  was  Lucy,  gayly  offering  a  silver 
sleighbell  decked  with  white  ribbon. 

"I  almost  couldn*t  find  you!"  she  cried. 

George  stared,  took  her  hand,  led  her  forth  in  si« 
lence,  danced  with  her.    She  seemed  content  not  to 


talk;  but  as  the  whistle  blew,  signalliiig  that  this 
episode  was  conduded,  and  he  conducted  her  to  her 
seat,  she  lifted  the  little  bell  toward  him.  ^^You 
haven't  taken  your  favour.  You're  supposed  to 
pin  it  on  your  coat,"  she  said.  ^' Don't  you  want 

"If  you  insist!"  said  George  stiffly.  And  he 
bowed  her  into  her  chair;  then  turned  and  walked 
away,  dropping  the  sleighbell  haughtily  into  hia 
trousers'  pocket. 

Hie  figure  proceeded  to  its  conclusion,  and  Geoige 
was  given  other  sleighbells,  which  he  easily  con- 
sented to  wear  upon  his  lapel;  but,  as  the  next  figure 
began,  he  strolled  with  a  bored  air  to  the  tropical 
grove,  where  sat  his  elders,  and  seated  himself  beside 
his  Uncle  Sydney.  His  mother  leaned  across  Miss 
Fanny,  raising  her  voice  over  the  music  to  speak  to 

"Georgie,  nobody  will  be  able  to  see  you  here. 
You'll  not  be  favoured.  You  ought  to  be  where 
you  can  dance." 

"Don't  care  to,"  he  returned.     "Bore!" 

"But  you  ought "     She  stopped  and  laughed, 

waving  her  fan  to  direct  his  attention  behind  him. 



'^Look!    Over  your  shoulder!" 


He  turned,  and  discovered  Miss  Lucy  Morgan  in 
the  act  of  offering  him  a  purple  toy  balloon. 

"I  found  you!"  she  laughed. 

George  was  startled.     "Well "  he  said. 

"Would  you  rather  'sit  it  out?'  "  Lucy  asked 
quickly,  as  he  did  not  move.  "I  don't  care  to  dance 
if  you " 

"No,"  he  said,  rising.  "It  would  be  better  to 
dance."  His  tone  was  solemn,  and  solemnly  he 
departed  with  her  from  the  grove.  Solemnly  he 
danced  with  her. 

Four  times,  with  not  the  slightest  encouragement, 
she  brought  him  a  favour:  four  times  in  succession. 
VS^en  the  foiulh  came,  "Look  here!"  said  George 
huskily.  "You  goiug  to  keep  this  up  all  night? 
What  do  you  mean  by  it? " 

For  an  instant  she  seemed  confused.  "That's 
irhat  cotillions  are  for,  aren't  they?"  she  murmured. 

"TMiat  do  you  mean:  what  they're  for?" 

"So  that  a  girl  can  dance  with  a  person  she  wants 

George's    huskiness    increased.     "Well,    do    you 
mean  you — ^you  want  to  dance  with  me  all  the  time  * 
^-all  evening?  " 

"Well,  this  much  of  it — evidently r"  she  laughed. 


sitting  beside  her  at  the  Sharons'  dance,  a  week 
after  the  Assembly.  "They  seemed  to  be  always 
having  little  quarrels  of  some  sort,  at  first.  At  least 
George  did:  he  seemed  to  be  continually  pecking  at 
that  lovely,  dainty,  little  Lucy,  and  being  cross 
with  her  over  nothing." 

''Teckmg?''\  Isabel  laughed.  "What  a  word 
to  use  about  Georgie!  I  think  I  never  knew  a  more 
angelically  amiable  disposition  in  my  life!" 

Miss  Fanny  echoed  her  sister-iu-law's  laugh,  but 
it  was  a  rueful  echo,  and  not  sweet.  "He*s  amiable 
to  you!"  she  said.  "That's  all  the  side  of  him  you 
ever  happen  to  see.  And  why  wouldn't  he  be  ami- 
able to  anybody  that  *  simply  fell  down  and  wor 
shipped  him  every  minute  of  her  life?  Most  of  us 

"Isn't  he  worth  worshipping?  Just  look  at  him! 
Isn't  he  charming  with  Lucy!  See  how  hard  he  ran 
to  get  it  when  she  dropped  her  handkerchief  back 

"Oh,  I'm  not  going  to  argue  with  you  about 
George!"  Said  Miss  Fanny.  "I'm  fond  enough  of 
him^  for  that  matter.  He  can  be  charming,  and  he's 
certainly  stunning  looking ,  if  only " 

**Let  the  *if   only'  go,  dear,"  Isabel   suggested 


good-naturedly.  "I^et's  talk  about  that  dinner 
you  thought  I  should " 

"I?"  Miss  Fanny  interrupted  quickly.  "Didn't 
you  want  to  give  it  yourself?" 

"Indeed,  I  did,  my  dear!"  said  Isabel  heartily. 
*M  only  meant  that  unless  you  had  proposed  it, 
perhaps  I  woiddn't " 

But  here  Eugene  came  for  her  to  dance,  and  she 
left  the  sentence  uncompleted.  HoUday  dances  can 
be  happy  for  youth  renewed  as  well  as  for  youth 
in  bud — and  yet  it  was  not  with  the  air  of  a  rival 
that  Miss  Fanny  watched  her  brother's  wife  dancing 
with  the  widower.  Miss  Fanny's  eyes  narrowed  a 
little,  but  only  as  if  her  mind  engaged  in  a  hopeful 
calculation.    She  looked  pleased. 


A  FEW  days  after  George's  return  to  the  uni- 
versity  it  became  evident  that  not  quite 
everybody  had  gazed  with  complete  benevo- 
lence  upon  the  various  young  collegians  at  their 
holiday  sports.  The  Sunday  edition  of  the  principal 
morning  paper  even  expressed  some  bitterness  under 
the  heading,  "Gilded  Youths  of  the  Fin-de-Siecle'' 
—this  was  considered  the  knowing  phrase  of  the 
time,  especially  for  Sunday  supplements — and  there 
is  no  doubt  that  from  certain  references  in  this  bit 
of  writing  some  people  drew  the  conclusion  that  Mr. 
George  Amberson  Minafer  had  not  yet  got  his  come- 
upance,  a  postponement  still  irritating.  Undeniably, 
Fanny  Minafer  was  one  of  the  people  who  drew  this 
conclusion,  for  she  cut  the  article  out  and  enclosed  it 
in  a  letter  to  her  nephew,  having  written  on  the  border 
of  the  clipping,  "I  wonder  whom  it  can  mean!" 
George  read  part  of  it: 

We  debate  sometimes  what  is  to  be  the  future  of  this  nation 
when  we  think  that  in  a  tew  years  public  affairs  may  be  in  the 



hands  of  ihefin-de-stecle  gilded  youths  we  see  about  us  during  the 
Christmas  holidays.  Such  foppery,  such  luxury,  such  insolence, 
was  surely  never  practised  by  the  scented,  overbearing  patricians 
of  the  Palatine,  even  in  Rome's  most  decadent  epoch.  In  all  the 
wild  orgy  of  wastefulness  and  luxury  with  which  the  nineteenth 
century  reaches  its  close,  the  gilded  youth  has  been  surely  the 
worst  symptom.  With  his  airs  of  young  milord,  his  fast  horses, 
his  gold  and  silver  cigarette-cases,  his  clothes  from  a  New 
York  tailor,  his  recklessness  of  money  showered  upon  him  by 
indulgent  mothers  or  doting  grandfathers,  he  respects  nothing 
and  nobody.  He  is  blase,  if  you  please.  Watch  him  at  a  social 
function,  how  condescendingly  he  deigns  to  select  a  partner  for 
the  popular  waltz  or  two-step;  how  carelessly  he  shoulders  older 
people  out  of  his  way,  with  what  a  blank  stare  he  returns  the 
salutation  of  some  old  acquaintance  whom  he  may  choose  in 
his  royal  whim  to  forget!  The  unpleasant  part  of  all  this  is  that 
the  young  women  he  so  condescendingly  selects  as  partners  for 
the  dance  greet  him  with  seeming  rapture,  though  in  their  hearts 
£hey  must  feel  hiuniliated  by  his  languid  hauteur,  and  many 
older  people  beam  upon  him  almost  fawningly  if  he  unbends  so 
far  as  to  throw  them  a  careless,  disdainful  word! 

One  wondets  what  has  come  over  the  new  generation.  Of 
iuch  as  these  the  Republic  was  not  made.  Let  us  pray  that  the 
future  of  our  country  is  not  in  the  hands  of  these  fin-de-siecle 
gilded  youths,  but  rather  in  the  calloused  palms  of  young  men 
yet  unknown,  labouring  upon  the  farms  of  the  land.  When 
we  compare  the  young  manhood  of  Abraham  Lincoln  with  the 
specimens  we  are  now  producing,  we  see  too  well  that  it  bodes  iU 
for  the  twentieth  century 

Geoi^e  yawned,  and  tossed  the  clipping  into  hb 
waste-basket,  wondering  why  his  aunt  thought  suel* 


dull  nonsense  worth  the  sending.  As  for  her  in- 
sinuation, pencilled  upon  the  border,  he  supposed 
she  meant  to  joke — a  supposition  which,  neither 
surprised  him  nor  altered  his  lifelong  opinion  of  her 

*  4 

He  read  her  letter  with  more  interest: 

;  .  .  The  dinner  yoiir  mother  gave  for  the  Morgans  was  a 
lovely  affair.  It  was  last  Monday  evening,  just  ten  days  after 
you  left.  It  was  peculiarly  appropriate  that  your  mother  should 
give  this  dinner,  because  her  brother  George,  your  uncle,  was  Mr. 
Morgan's  inost  intimate  friend  before  he  left  here  a  number  of 
years  ago,  and  it  was  a,  ple^isant  occasion  for  the  formal  announce- 
ment of  some  news  which  you  heard  from  Lucy  Morgan  belfore 
you  returned  to  college.  At  least  she  told  me  she  had  told  you 
the  night  before  you  left  that  her  father  had  decided  to  return 
here  to  live.  It  was  appropriate  that  your  mother,  herself  an 
old  friend,  should  assemble  a  representative  selection  of  Mr. 
Morgan's  old  friends  around  him  at  such  a  time.  He  was  in 
great  spirits  and  most  entertaining.  As  your  time  was  so 
charmingly  taken  up  during  your  visit  home  with  a  younger 
memher  of  his  family,  you  probably  overlooked  opportunities  of 
hearing  him  talk,  and  do  not  know  what  an  interesting  man  he 
can  be.  • .  '.  i 

He  will  soon  begin  to  build  his  factory  here  for  the  manu- 
facture of  automobiles,  which  he  says  is  a  term  he  prefers  to 
''horseless  carriages."  Your  Uncle  George  told  me  he  would  like 
to  invest  in  this  factory,  as  George  thinks  there  is  a  future  for 
automobiles;  perhaps  not  for  general  use,  but  as  an  interesting 
novelty,  which  people  with  sufficient  means  would  like  to  own 
for  their  amusement  and  the  sake  of  variety.    However,  he  said 


Mr.  Morgan  laughingly  declined  his  offer,  as  Mr.  M.  was  fully 
able  to  finance  this  venture,  though  not  startling  in  a  very  large 
way.  Your  uncle  said  other  people  are  manufacturing  auto- 
mobiles in  different  parts  of  the  country  with  success.  Your 
tather  is  not  very  well»  though  he  is  not  actually  ill,  and  the  doctor 
tells  him  he  ought  not  to  be  so  much  at  his  office,  as  the  long 
.years  of  application  indoors  with  no  exercise  are  beginning  to 
affect  him  unfavourably,  but  I  believe  your  father  would  die  if 
he  had  to  give  up  his  work,  which  is  all  that  has  ever  interested 
him  outside  of  his  family.  I  never  could  understand  it.  Mr. 
Morgan  took  your  mother  and  me  with  Lucy  to  see  Modjeska 
in  "Twelfth  Night"  yesterday  evening,  and  Lucy  said  she  thought 
the  Duke  looked  rather  like  you,  only  much  more  democratic 
in  his  manner. '  I  suppose  you  will  think  I  have  written  a  great 
deal  about  the  Morgans  in  this  letter,  but  thought  you  would  be 
interested  because  of  your  interest  in  a  younger  member  of  his 
family.    Hoping  that  you  are  finding  college  still  as  attractive 

as  ever. 


Aunt  Fanny. 

George  read  one  sentence  in  this  letter  several 
times.  Then  he  dropped  the  ^missive  in  his  waste- 
basket  to  join  the  clipping,  and  strolled  down  the  cor- 
ridor of  his  dormitory  to  borrow  a  copy  of  "Twelftli 
Night."  Having  secured  one,  he  returned  to  his 
study  and  refreshed  his  memory  of  the  play — ^but 
received  no  enlightenment  that  enabled  him  to 
comprehend  Lucy's  strange  remark.  However,  he 
found  himself  impelled  in  the  direction  of  corres- 


pondence,  and  presently  wrote  a  letter — ^not  a  reply 
to  his  Aunt  Panny. 

Dear  Luct: 

No  doubt  you  will  be  surprised  at  hearing  from  me  so  soon 
again,  espeeiany  as  this  makes  two  in  answer  to  the  one  received 
from  you  since  getting  back  to  the  old  place.  I  hear  you  have 
been  making  comm^its  about  me  at  the  theatre,  that  some  actor 
was  more  democratic  in  his  manners  than  I  am,  which  I  do  not 
understand.  You  know  my  theory  of  life  because  I  explained 
it  to  you  on  our  first  drive  together,  when  I  told  you  I  would  not 
talk  to  everybody  about  things  I  feel  like  the  way  I  spoke  to  you 
of  my  theory  of  life.  I  believe  those  who  are  able  should  have  a 
true  theory  of  life,  and  I  developed  my  theory  of  Ufe  long,  long  ago. 

Well,  here  I  sit  smoking  my  faithful  briar  pipe,  indulging 
in  the  f ragrarce  of  my  tabat  as  I  look  out  on  the  campus  from  my 
nutny-paned  window,  and  things  are  different  with  me  from  the 
way  they  were  way  back  in  Freshman  year.  I  can  see  now  how 
boyish  in  many  ways  I  was  then.  I  believe  what  has  changed 
me  as  much  as  anything  was  my  visit  home  at  the  time  I  met  you. 
So  I  sit  here  with  my  faithful  briar  and  dream  the  old  dreams  over 
as  it  were,  dreaming  of  ike  waltases  we  waltzed  together  and  of 
that  last  night  before  we  parted,  and  you  told  me  the  good  news 
you  were  going  to  live  there,  and  I  would  find  my  friend  waiting 
for  me,  when  I  get  home  next  sununer. 

I  will  be  glad  my  friend  wiU  be  waiting  for  me.  I  am  not 
capable  of  friendship  except  for  the  very  few,  and,  looking 
back  over  my  life,  I  remember  there  were  times  when  I  doubted 
if  I  could  feel  a  great  friendship  for  anybody — especially  girb. 
I  do  not  take  a  great  interest  in  many  people,  as  you  know, 
for  I  find  most  of  them  shallow.  Here  in  the  old  place  I  do  not 
believe  in  being  hail-fellow-well-met  with  every  Tom,  Didc,  and 
Harry  just  because  he  happois  to  be  a  classmate,  any  more 


than  I  do  at  home,  where  I  have  always  been  careful  who  I  was 
seen  with,  largely  on  account  of  the  family,  but  also  because 
my  disposition  ever  since  my  boyhood  has  been  to  encourage 
real  intimacy  from  but  the  few. 

What  are  you  reading  now?  I  have  finished  both  "Henry 
Esmond**  and  "The  Virginians."  I  like  Thackeray  because  he 
is  not  trashy,  and  because  he  writes  principally  of  nice  people* 
My  theory  of  literature  is  an  author  who  does  not  indulge  in 
trashiness — writes  about  people  you  could  introduce  into  your 
own  home.  I  agree  with  my  Uncle  Sydney,  as  I  once  heard 
him  say  he  did  not  care  to  read  a  book  or  go  to  a  play  about 
people  he  would  not  care  to  meet  at  his  own  dinner  table.  I 
believe  we  should  live  by  certain  standards  and  ideals,  as  you 
know  from  my  telling  you  my  theory  of  life. 

Well,  a  letter  is  no  place  for  deep  discussions,  so  I  will  not  go 
into  the  subject.  From  several  letters  from  my  mother,  and  one 
from  Aunt  Fanny,  I  hear  you  are  seeing  a  good  deal  of  the  family 
since  I  left.  I  hope  sometimes  you  think  of  the  member  who  is 
absent  I  got  a  silver  frame  for  your  photograph  in  New  York, 
and  I  keep  it  on  my  desk.  It  is  the  only  girl's  photograph  I  ever 
took  the  trouble  to  have  framed,  though,  as  I  told  you  frankly,  I 
have  had  any  number  of  other  girls'  photographs,  yet  all  were 
only  passing  fancies,  and  oftentimes  I  have  questioned  in  years 
past  if  I  was  capable  of  much  friendship  toward  the  feminine 
sex,  which  I  usually  found  shallow  until  our  own  friendship 
began.  When  I  look  at  your  photograph,  I  say  to  my  self  r 
"At  last,  at  last  here  is  one  that  will  not  prove  shallow.** 

My  faithful  briar  has  gone  out.  I  will  have  to  rise  and  fill  it^ 
then  once  more  in  the  fragrance  of  My  Lady  Nicotine,  I  will  sit 
and  dream  the  old  dreams  over,  and  think,  too,  of  the  true  friend 
at  home  awaiting  my  return  in  June  for  the  summer  vacation. 

Friend,  this  is  from  your  friend, 

G.  A   M. 


George's  anticipations  were  not  disappointed. 
When  he  came  home  in  June  his  friend  was  awaiting 
him;  at  least,  she  was  so  pleased  to  see  him  again 
that  for  a  few  minutes  after  their  first  encounter  she 
was  a  little  breathless,  and  a  great  deal  glowing,  and 
quiet  withal.  Their  sentimental  friendship  con- 
tinued, though  sometimes  he  was  irritated  by  her 
making  it  less  sentimental  than  he  did,  and  some- 
times by  what  he  called  her  "air  of  superiority." 
Her  air  was  usually,  in  truth,  that  of  a  fond  but 
amused  older  sister;  and  George  did  not  believe 
such  an  attitude  was  warranted  by  her  eight  months 
of  seniority. 

Lucy  and  her  father  were  h'ving  at  the  Ambenson 
Hotel,  while  Morgan  got  his  small  machine-shops 
built  in  a  western  outskirt  of  the  town;  and  George 
grumbled  about  the  shabbiness  and  the  old-fashioned 
look  of  the  hotel,  though  it  was  "still  the  best  in  the 
place,  of  course."  He  remonstrated  with  his  grand- 
father, declaring  that  the  whole  Amberson  Estate 
would  be  getting  "run-down  and  out-at-heel>  if 
things  weren't  taken  in  hand  pretty  soon."  He 
urged  the  general  need  of  rebuilding,  renovating, 
varnishing,  and  lawsuits.  But  the  Major,  declining 
to  hear  him  out,  interrupted  quemlously,  saying 


that  he  had  enough  to  bother  him  without  any 
idvice  from  George;  and  retired  to  his  Kbrary,  going 
so  far  as  to  lock  the  door  audibly. 

"Second  childhood!"  George  muttered,  shaking 
his  head;  and  he  thought  sadly  that  the  Major  had 
not  long  to  live.  However,  this  surmise  depressed 
him  for  only  a  moment  or  so.  Of  course,  people 
couldn't  be  expected  to  live  forever,  and  it  would 
be  a  good  thing  to  have  someone  in  charge  of  the 
Estate  who  wouldn't  let  it  get  to  looking  so  rusty 
that  riJBfraff  dared  to  make  fim  of  it.  For  George 
had  lately  undergone  the  annoyance  of  calling  upon 
the  Morgans,  in  the  rather  stuffy  red  velours  and 
gilt  parlour  of  their  apartment  at  the  hotel,  one 
evening  when  Mr.  Frederick  Kinney  also  was  a 
caller,  and  Mr.  Kinney  had  not  been  tactful.  In 
fact,  though  he  adopted  a  humorous  tone  of  voice, 
in  expressing  his  sympathy  for  people  who,  through 
the  city's  poverty  in  hotels,  were  obliged  to  stay  at 
the  Amberson,  Mr.  Kinney's  intention  was  inter- 
preted by  the  other  visitor  as  not  at  all  humorous^, 
but,  on  the  contrary,  personal  and  offensive. 

George  rose  abruptly,  his  face  the  colour  of  wrath. 
*  Good-night,  Miss  Morgan.  Good-night,  Mr.  Mor- 
gan/' he  said.     "I  shall  take  pleasure  in  calling  at 

^  i 


some  other  time  when  a  more  courteous  sort  oi 
people  may  be  present." 

"Look  here!"  the  hot-headed  Fred  burst  out 
"Don't  you  try  to  make  me  out  a  boor,  George 
Minafer!  I  wasn't  hinting  anything  at  you;  I 
simply  forgot  all  about  your  grandfather  owning  this 
old  building.  Don't  you  trj'  to  put  me  in  the  light 
of  a  boor!    I  won't " 

But  George  walked  out  in  the  very  course  of  this 
vehcriient  protest,  and  it  was  necessarily  left  un- 

Mr.  Kinney  remained  only  a  few  moments  after 
George's  departure;  and  as  the  door  closed  upon 
him,  the  distressed  Lucy  turned  to  her  father.  She 
was  plaintively  surprised  to  find  him  in  a  condition 
of  immoderate  laughter. 

"I  didn't— I  didn't  think  I  could  hold  out?'"  h^ 
gasped,  and,  after  choking  until  tears  came  to  his 
ej''es,  felt  blindly  for  the  chair  from  which  he  had 
risen  to  wish  Mr.  Kinney  an  indistinct  good-night./ 
His  hand  found  the  arm  of  the  chair;  he  collapsed 
feebly,  and  sat  uttering  incoherent  sounds. 


"It  brings  tliitigs  back  so!"  he  managed  to  ex- 
plain.     "This    very    Fred    Kinney's    father    and 


young  George^s  father,  Wilbur  Minater,  used  to  do 
just  such  thhigs  when  they  were  at  that  age — ^and,  for 
that  matter,  so  did  George  Amberson  and  I,  and  all 
the  rest  of  us!"  And,  in  spite  of  his  exhaustion,  he 
began  to  imitate:  " 'Don't  you  try  to  put  7W^  in  the 
light  of  a  boor!'  *I  shall  take  pleasure  in  calling  at 
some  time  when  a  more  courteous  sort  of  people 
' "    He  was  unable  to  go  on. 

There  is  a  mirth  for  every  age,  and  Lucy  failed  to 
comprehend  her  father's,  but  tolerated  it  a  little 

"Papa,  I  think  they  were  shocking.  Weren't 
they  aii?/wZ/" 

"Just — ^just  boys!"  he  moaned,  wiping  his  eyes. 

But  Lucy  could  not  smile  at  all;  she  was  beginning 
to  look  indignant.  "I  can  forgive  that  poor  Fred 
Kinney,"  she  said.  "He's  just  blimdering — ^but 
George — oh,  George  behaved  outrageously!" 

"It's  a  difficult  age,"  her  father  observed,  his 
calmness  somewhat  restored.  "Girls  don't  seem  to 
have  to  pass  through  it  quite  as  boys  do,  or  their 
savoir  faire  is  instinctive — or  something!"  And 
he  gave  away  to  a  return  of  his  convulsion. 

She  came  and  sat  upon  the  arm  of  his  chair. 
**Papa,  why  should  George  behave  like  that.^" 


"He's  sensitive." 

'"Rather!  But  why  is  he?  He  does  knything  he 
likes  to,  without  any  regard  for  what  people  think. 
Then  why  should  he  mind  so  furiously  when  the  least 
little  thing  reflects  upon  him,  or  on  anything  or  any- 
body connected  with  him?  " 

Eugene  patted  her  hand.  "'That's  one  of  the 
greatest  puzzles  of  human  vanity,  dear;  and  I  don't 
pretend  to  know  the  answer.  In  aU  my  life,  the 
most  arrogant  people  that  I've  known  have  been  the 
most  sensitive.  The  people  who  have  done  the 
most  in  contempt  of  other  people's  opinion,  and  who 
•consider  themselves  the  highest  above  it,  have  been 
the  most  furious  if  it  went  against  them.  Arro- 
gant and  domineering  people  can't  stand  the  least, 
lightest,  faintest  breath  of  criticism.  It  just  kills 

"Papa,  do  you  think  George  is  terribly  arrogant 
and  dommeering?" 

"Oh,  he's  still  only  a  boy,"  said  Eugene  consol- 
ingly. "There's  plenty  of  fine  stuff  in  him — can't 
help  but  be,  because  he's  Isabel  Amberson's  son." 

Lucy  stroked  his  hair,  which  was  still  almost  as 
dark  as  her  own.  "You  liked  her  pretty  well  oncei 
I  guess,  papa." 


"I  do  still,"  he  said  quietly. 

"  She's  lovely — lovely !  Papa —  "  she  paused,  thea 
continued — "I  wonder  sometimes " 


"I  wonder  just  how  she  happened  to  marry  Mr- 

"Oh,  Minafer's  all  right,"  said  Eugene.  "He'fif 
a  quiet  sort  of  man,  but  he's  a  good  man  and  a  kind 
man.    He  always  was,  and  those  things  count." 

"But  in  a  way — well,  I've  heard  people  say  there 
wasn't  anything  to  him  at  all  except  business  and 
saving  money.  Miss  Fanny  Minafer  herself  told 
me  that  everything  George  and  his  mother  have  of 
their  own — that  is,  just  to  spend  as  they  like — she 
iays  it  has  always  come  from  Major  Amberson.'' 

"  Thrift,  Horatio ! "  said  Eugene  Kghtly .  "  Thrift's 
an  inheritance,  and  a  common  enou^  one  here. 
The  people  who  settled  the  country  had  to  save,  sa 
making  and  saving  were  taught  as  virtues,  and 
the  people,  to  the  third  generation,  haven't  found 
out  that  making  and  saving  are  only  means  to 
an  end.  Minafer  doesn't  believe  in  money  being 
spent.  He  believes  God  made  it  to  be  invested  and 

But   George  isn't    saving.    He's   reckless,  and 



even  if  he  is  arrogant  and  conceited  and  bad-tempered, 
he's  awfully  generous." 

"Oh,  he's  an  Amberson,"  said  her  father.  "The 
Ambersons  aren't 'saving.  They're  too  much  the 
other  way,  most  of  them." 

"I  don't  think  I  should  have  called  George  bad- 
tempered,"  Lucy  said  thoughtfully.  "No.  I  don't 
think  he  is." 

"Only  when  he's  cross  about  something?"  Mor- 
gan suggested,  with  a  semblance  of  sympathetic 

"Yes,"  she  said  brightly,  not  perceiving  that  hi? 
intention  was  humorous.  "All  the  rest  of  the  time 
he's  really  very  amiable.  Of  course,  he's  much 
morie  a  perfect  child,  the  whole  time,  than  he  realizes! 
He  certainly  behaved  awfully  to-night."  She 
jumped  up,  her  indignation  returning.  "He  did, 
indeed,  and  it  won't  do  to  encourage  him  in  it.  I 
think  he'll  find  me  pretty  cool — for  a  week  or  so!" 

Whereupon  her  father  suffered  a  renewal  of  kis 
Attack  of  uproarious  laughter. 


IN  THE  matter  of  coolness,  George  met  Lucy 
upon  her  own  predetermined  ground;  in  fact» 
he  was  there  first,  and,  at  their  next  encoun- 
ter, proved  loftier  and  more  formal  than  she  did. 
Their  estrangement  lasted  three  weeks,  and  then 
disappeared  without  any  preliminary  treaty:  it  had 
worn  itself  out,  and  they  forgot  it. 

At '  times,  however,  George  found  other  disturb- 
ances to  the  friendship.  Lucy  was  "too  much  the 
village  belle,"  he  complained;  and  took  a  satiric 
attitude  toward  his  competitors,  referring  to  them 
as  her  "local  swains  and  bumpkins,"  sulking  for 
an  afternoon  when  she  reminded  him  that  he,  too. 
was  at  least  "local."  She  was  a  belle  with  older 
people  as  well;  Isabel  and  Fanny  were  continually 
taking  her  driving,  bringing  her  home  with  them  tc 
hmch  or  dinner,  and  making  a  hundred  little  en- 
gagements with  her,  and  the  Major  had  taken  a 
great  fancy  to  her,  insisting  upon  her  presence  and  her 
father's  at  the  Amberson  family  dinner  at  the  Man- 



sion  every  Sunday  evening.  She  knew  how  to  flirt 
with  old  people,  he  said,  as  she  sat  next  him  at  the 
table  on  one  of  these  Sunday  occasions;  and  he  bad 
always  liked  her  father,  even  when  Eugene  was  a 
** terror"  long  ago.  "Oh,  yes,  he  was!"  the  Major 
laughed,  when  she  remonstrated.  "He  came  up 
here  with  my  son  George  and  some  others  for  a 
serenade  one  night,  and  Eugene  stepped  into  a  bass 
fiddle,  and  the  poor  musicians  just  gave  up !  I  had 
a  pretty  half-hour  getting  my  son  George  upstairs, 
I  remember!  It  was  the  last  time  Eugene  ever 
touched  a  drop — ^but  lie*d  touched  plenty  before 
that,  young  lady,  and  he  daren't  deny  it!  Well, 
well;  there's  another  thing  that's  changed:  hardly 
anybody  drinks  nowadays.  Perhaps  it's  just  as  well, 
but  things  used  to  be  livelier.  That  serenade  was  just 
before  Isabel  was  married — and  don't  you  fret.  Miss 
Lucy:  yoiu*  father  remembers  it  well  enough!"  The 
old  gentleman  burst  into  laughter,  and  shook  his 
finger  at  Eugene  across  the  table.  "The  fact  is," 
the  Major  went  on  hilariously,  "I  believe  if  Eugene 
hadn't  broken  that  bass  fiddle  and  given  himself 
away,  Isabel  would  never  have  taken  Wilbur!  I 
shouldn't  be  surprised  if  that  was  about  all  the  reason 
that  Wilbur  got  her !    What  do  you  think.  Wilbur?** 


"I  shouldn't  be  surpriised,"  said  Wilbur  placidly. 
"If  your  notion  is  right,  I'm  glad  'Gene  broke  the 
fiddle.    He  was  giving  me  a  hard  run!" 

The  Major  always  drank  three  glasses  of  cham- 
pagne at  his  Sunday  dinner,  and  he  was  finishing  the 
third.  "What  do  you  say  about  it,  Isabel?  By 
Jove!"  he  cried,  pounding  the  table.  "She's  blush- 

Isabel  did  blush,  but  she  laughed^  "  Who  wouldn't 
blush!"  she  cried,  and  her  sister-in-law  came  to  her 

"The  important  thing,"  said  Fanny  jovially,  '*ifi 
that  Wilbur  did  get  her,  and  not  only  got  her,  but 
kept  her!" 

Eugene  was  as  pink  as  Isabel,  but  he  laughed 
without  any  sign "  of  embarrassment  other  than  his 
heightened  colour.  "There's  another  important 
thing^that  is,  for  me,"  he  said.  "It's  the  only 
thing  Ihat  makes,  me  forgive  that  bass  viol  for  get- 
ting in  my  way." 

What  is  it?"  the  Major  asked. 
Lucy,"  said  Morgan  gently. 

Isabel  gave  him  a  quick  glance,  all  warm  approval, 
and  there  was  a  murmur  of  friendliness  round  the 
table.  ^ 


George  was  not  one  of  those  who  joined  in  this 
applause.  He  considered  his  grandfather's  nonseiise 
indelicate,  even  for  second  childhood,  and  he  thought 
that  the  sooner  the  subject  was  dropped  the  better. 
However,  he  had  only  a  slight  recurrence  of  the 
resentment  which  had  assailed  him  during  the  winter 
at  every  sign  of  his  mother's  interest  in  Morgan; 
though  he  was  still  ashamed  of  his  aunt  sometimes, 
when  it  seemed  to  him  that  Fanny  was  almost  pub- 
licly throwing  herself  at  the  widower's  head.  Fanny 
and  he  had  one  or  two  arguments  in  which  her 
fierceness  again  astonished  and  amused  him. 

"You  drop  your  criticisms  of  your  relatives,"  she 
bade  him,  hotly,  one  day,  "and  begin  thinking  a  little 
about  your  own  behaviour!  You  say  people  will 
*talk'  about  my — ^about  my  merelybeing  pleasant  to 
an  old  friend!  What  do  I  care  how  they  talk?  I 
guess  if  people  are  talking  about  anybody  m  this 
family  they're  talking  about  the  impertinent  little 
snippet  that  hasn*t  any  respect  for  anything,  and 
doesn't  even  know  enough  to  attend  to  his  own 

"^Snippet,'  Aunt  Fanny!"  George  laughed. 
"How  elegant!  And  'litUe  snippet' — ^when  I'm  ov« 
five-feet-eleven?  " 


"I  said  it!"  she  snapped,  departing.  "I  don't 
fiee  how  Lucy  can  stand  you!" 

"You'd  make  an  amiable  stepmother-in-law!" 
he  called  after  her.  "  I'll  be  careful  about  proposing 
to  Lucy!" 

These  were  but  roughish  spots  in  a  summer  that 
glided  by  evenly  and  quickly  enough,  for  the  most 
part,  and,  at  the  end,  seemed  to  fly*  On  the  last 
night  before  George  went  back  to  be  a  Junior,  his 
mother  asked  him  confidently  if  it  had  not  been  a 
happy  summer. 

He  hadn't  thought  about  it,  he  answered.  "Oh, 
I  suppose  so.     Why?" 

"I  just  thought  it  would  be  nice  to  hear  you  say 
so,"  she  said,  smiling.  "I  mean,  it's  pleasant  for 
people  of  niy  age  to  know  that  people  of  your  a^e 
realize  that  they're  happy." 

"People  of  your  age!"  he  repeated.  "You  know 
you  don't  look  precisely  like  an  old  woman,  mother* 
Not  precisely!" 

"No,"  she  said.  "And  I  suppose  I  feel  about  as 
young  as  you  do,  inside,  but  it  won't  be  many  years 
before  I  must  begin  to  hok  old.  It  does  come!" 
She  sighed,  stOl  smiling.  "It's  seemed  to  me  that 
it  must  have  been  a  happy  summer  for  you — a  real 


^summer  of  roses  and  wine' — ^without  the  wine,  per- 
haps. ^Gather  ye  roses  while  ye  may* — op  was  it 
primroses?  Time  does  really  fly,  or  perhaps  iVs 
more  like  the  sky — and  smoke " 

George  was  puzzled.  ''What  do  you  mean:  time 
)3eing  like  the  sky  and  smoke?" 

''I  mean  the  things  that  we  have  and  that  we  think 
ure  so  solid — they're  like  smoke,  and  time  is  like  the 
sky  that  the  smoke  disappears  into.  You  know  how 
a  wreath  of  smoke  goes  up  from  a  chimney,  and  seems 
all  thick  and  black  and  busy  against  the  sky,  as  if  it 
wel*e  going  to  do  such  important  things  and  last  f or^ 
ever,  and  you  see  it  getting  thinner  and  thinner— 
and  then,  in  such  a  little  while,  it  isn't  there  at  all; 
nothing  is  left  but  the  sky,  and  the  sky  keeps  09 
being  just  the  same  forever." 

"It  strikes  me  you're  getting  mixed  up,"  said 
George  cheerfully.  "I  don't  see  much  resemblance 
between  time  and  the  sky,  or  between  things  and 
smoke- wreaths;  but  I  do  see  one  reason  you  like 
Lucy  Morgan  so  much.  She  talks  that  same  kind 
of  wistfuij  moony  way  sometimes — I  don't  mean 
to  say  I  mind  it  in  either  of  you,  because  I  rathei 
like  to  listen  to  it,  and  you've  got  a  very  good  voice, 
mother.     It's  nice  to  listen  to,  no  matter  how  muck 


smoke  and  sky,  and  so  on,  you  talk.  So'a  Lucy's, 
for  that  matter;  and  I  see  why  you're  congenial* 
She  talks  that  way  to  her  father,  too;  and  he's  right 
there  with  the  same  kind  of  guff.  Well,  it's  all  right 
with  m^  /  "  He  laughed,  teasingly,  and  allowed  her  to 
retain  his  hand,  which  she  had  fondly  seized.  '^I've 
got  plenty  to  think  about  when  people  drool  along!'' 

She  pressed  his  hand  to  her  cheek,  and  a  tear  made 
a  tiny  warm  streak  across  one  of  his  knuckles. 

"For  heaven's  sake!"  he  said.  ** What's  the 
matter?    Isn't  everything  all  right?" 

"  You're  going  away ! " 

'^'Well,  I'm  coming  back,  don't  you  suppose?  Is 
that  all  that  worries  you?" 

She  cheered  up,  and  smiled  again,  but  shook  her 
head.  "I  never  can  bear  to  see  you  go — ^that's  the 
most  of  it.  I'm  a  little  bothered  about  your  father, 


'It  seems  to  me  he  looks  so  badly.    Everybody 
thinks  so." 

"What  nonsense!"  George  laughed.  "He's  been 
looking  that  way  all  summer.  He  isn't  much  dif- 
ferent from  the  way  he's  looked  all  his  life,  that  I  can 
flee.    What's  the  matter  with  him?" 


'^He  never  talks  much  about  his  busmess  to  me 
but  I  think  he's  been  worrying  about  some  invest* 
xnoits  he  made  last  year.  I  think  his  worry  has 
a£Pected  his  health/' 

**What  investments?"  George  demanded.  "He 
hasn't  gone  into  Mr.  Morgan's  automobile  ooncem, 
has  he?" 

"No,"  Isabel  smiled.  "The  ^automobile  concern' 
is  all  Eugene's,  and  it's  so  small  I  understand  it's 
taken  hardly  anything.  No;  your  father  has  al« 
ways  prided  himself  on  making  only  the  most  abso* 
lutely  safe  investments,  but  two  or  three  years  ago  he 
and  your  Uncle  George  both  put  a  great  deal — 
pretty  much  everything  they  could  get  together. 
1  think — into  the  stock  of  rolling-mills  some  friends 
of  theirs  owned>  and  I'm  afraid  the  mills  haven't 
been  doing  well." 

"What  of  that?  Father  needn't  worry.  You 
and  I  could  take  care  of  him  the  rest  of  his  life  on 
what  grandfathei^-:: — " 

"Of  course,"  she  agreed.  "But  your  father's 
always  lived  so  for  his  business  and  taken  such  pride 
in  his  sound  investments;  it's  a  passion  with  him* 
I " 

'* Pshaw!    He  needn't  worry!    You  teD  lum  we'll 


look  after  him :  we'll  build  hini  a  little  stone  bank  in 
the  backyard,  if  he  busts  up,  and  he  can  go  and  put 
his  pennies  in  it  every  morning.  That'll  keep  him 
just  as  happy  as  he  ever  was!"  He  kissed  her. 
"Good-night,  I'm  going  to  tell  Lucy  good-bye. 
Don't  sit  up  for  me." 

She  walked  to  the  front  gate  with  him,  still  hold- 
ing his  hand,  and  he  told  her  again  not  to  "sit  up" 
for  him. 

"Yes,  I  will,"  she  laughed.  "You  won*t  be  very 

"Well— it's  my  last  night." 

"But  I  know  Lucy,  and  she  knows  I  want  to  see 
you,  too,  your  last  night.  You'll  see:  she'll  send 
you  home  promptly  at  eleven!" 

But  she  was  mistaken:  Imcy  sent  him  home 
promptly  at  ten. 


ISABEL'S  uneasiness  about  her  husband's 
health — sometimes  reflected  in  her  letters  to 
George  during  the  winter  that  followed — had 
not  been  alleviated  when  the  accredited  Senior  re» 
turned  for  his  next  summer  vacation,  and  she  confided 
to  him  m  hLs  room,  soon  alter  his  arrival,  that  "some- 
thing'^  the  doctor  had  said  to  her  lately  had  made  her 
more  uneasy  than  ever. 

•*Still  worrying  over  his  rolling-mills  investmCTits?^* 
George  asked,  not  seriously  impressed. 

**Tm  afraid  it's  past  that  stage  from  what  Dr 
Bainey  says.  His  worries  only  aggravate  his  oonditioii 
now.    Dr.  Rainey  says  we  ought  to  get  him  away/^ 

"Well  let's  do  it,  then.'' 

*'He  won't  go." 

**He*s  a  man  awfully  set  in  his  ways;  that's  true,^ 
said  George.  '^I  don't  think  there's  anything  much 
the  matter  with  him,  though,  and  he  looks  just  the 
same  to  me.  Have  you  seen  Lucy  lately?  How  iff 



** Hasn't  she  written  you?'* 

"Oh,  about  once  a  month/'  he  answered  care^ 
lessly.  "Never  says  much  about  herself.  How's 
she  look?" 

"She  looks — ^pretty!"  said  Isabel.  "I  suppose 
she  wrote  you  they've  moved?" 

"Ye5;  I've  got  her  address.  She  said  they  were 

''^They  did.  It's  all  finished,  and  they've  been  in 
it  a  month.  Lucy  is  so  capable;  she  keeps  house  ex-* 
quisitely.  It's  small,  but  oh,  such  a  pretty  little 

"Well,  that's  fortunate,"  Geoi^e  said.  "One 
thing  I've  always  felt  they  didn't  know  a  great  deal 
about  is  architecture." 

"Don't  they?"  asked  Isabel,  surprised.  "Any- 
how, their  house  is  charming.  It's  way  out  beyond 
the  end  of  Amberson  Boulevard;  it's  quite  near  that 
big  white  house  with  a  gray-green  roof  somebody 
built  out  there  a  year  or  so  ago.  There  are  any 
number  of  houses  going  up,  out  that  way;  and  the 
troUey-line  runs  within  a  block  of  them  now,  on  the 
next  street,  and  the  traction  people  are  laying  tracks 
more  than  three  miles  beyond.  I  suppose  you'll  be 
driviiig  out  to  see  Lucy  to-morrow 



•*I  thought "  George  hesitated-     ''I  thought 

perhaps  I'd  go  after  dinner  this  evening," 

At  this*  his  mother  laughed,  not  astonished.  ''^It 
was  only  my  feeble  joke  about  *to-morroWr^  Georgie! 
I  was  pretty  sure  you  couldn't  wait  that  long.  Did 
Lucy  write  you  about  the  factory?" 

"No.     What  factory?" 

"The  automobile  shops.  They  had  rather  a  dub 
ious  time  at  first,  I'm  afraid,  and  some  of  Eugene'c 
experiments  turned  out  badly,  but  this  spring  they've 
finished  eight  automobiles  and  sold  them  all,  and 
they've  got  twelve  more  almost  finished,  and  they're 
sold  already !     Eugene's  so  gay  over  it  i " 

"What  do  his  old  sewing-machines  look  like? 
Like  that  first  one  he  had  when  they  came  herer  ^' 

"No,  io^^ed!  These  have  rubber  tires  blown 
iip  with  air-pneumatic!  And  they  aren't  so  high; 
they're  very  easy  to  get  into,  and  the  engine's  in 
front — ^Eugene  thioks  that's  a  great  improvement. 
They're  very  interesting  to  look  at;  behind  the 
driver's  seat  there's  a  sort  of  box  where  four  people 
can  sit,  with  a  step  and  a  little  door  in  the  rear, 
and " 

"I  know  all  about  it,"  said  George,  "I've  seen 
any  number  like  that,  East.     You  can  see  all  you 


want  of  'em,  if  you  stand  on  Fifth  Avenue  half  an 
hour,  any  afternoon.  I've  seen  half-a-dozen  go  by 
almost  at  the  same  time — within  a  few  minutes,  any- 
how; and  of  course  electric  hansoms  are  a  common 
sight  there  any  day.  I  hired  one,  myself,  the  last 
time  I  was  there.  How  fast  do  Mr.  Moi^an's  ma- 
chines go?" 

"Much  too  fast!  It's  very  exhilarating — ^bul 
rather  frightening;  and  they  do  make  a  fearful  up- 
roar. He  says,  though,  he  thinks  he  sees  a  way  to 
get  around  the  noisiness  in  time." 

"I  don't  mind  the  noise,"  said  George.  "Give  me 
a  horse,  for  mine,  though,  any  day.  I  must  get  up  a 
race  with  one  of  these  things:  Pendennis^ll  leave  it 
one  mile  behind  in  a  two-mile  run.  How's  grand- 

"He  looks  well,  but  he  complains  sometimes  of 
his  heart:  I  suppose  that's  natural  at  his  age — 
and  it's  an  Amberson  trouble."  Having  mentioned 
this,  she  looked  anxious  instantly.  "Did  you  ever 
feel  any  weakness  there,  Georgie.?" 
No!"  he  laughed. 
Are  you  sure^  dear?" 

"No!"    And  he  laughed  again.     "Did  you?" 

"Oh,  I  think  not — at  least,  the  doctor  told  me  he 




thought  my  heart  was  about  all  right.  He  said  I 
needn^t  be  alarmed." 

'^I  should  think  not!  Women  do  seem  to  be 
always  talldng  about  health :  I  suppose  they  haven't 
got  enough  else  to  think  of!" 

"That  must  be  it,"  she  said  gayly.  "We're  an 
idle  lot!" 

George  had  taken  off  his  coat.  "I  don't  Uke  to 
hint  to  a  lady,"  he  said,  "but  I  do  want  to  dress  be-* 
fore  dmner." 

"Don't  be  long;  I've  got  to  do  a  lot  of  looking 
at  you,  dear!"  She  kissed  him  and  ran  away, 

But  his  Aunt  Fanny  was  not  so  fond;  and  at  the 
dinner-table  there  came  a  spark  of  liveliness  into 
her  eye  when  George  patronizingly  asked  her  what 
was  the  news  in  her  own  "particular  Ime  of 

"What  do  you  mean,  Georgie?"  she  asked  quietly. 

"Oh  I  mean:  What's  the  news  in  the  fast  set 
generally?    You  been  causing  any  divorces  lately?" 

"No,"  said  Fanny,  the  spark  in  her  eye  getting 
brighter.     "I  haven't  been  causing  anything." 

"Well,  what's  the  gossip?  You  usually  hear 
pretty  much  everything  that  goes  on  around  tbt 


nooks  and  crannies  in  this  town,  I  hear.     What's 
the  last  from  the  gossips'  comer,  auntie?" 

Fanny  dropped  her  eyes,  and  the  spark  was  con- 
cealed, but  a  movement  of  her  lower  lip  betokened  a 
tendency  to  laugh,  as  she  replied,  "There  hasn't 
been  much  gossip  lately,  except  the  report  that 
Lucy  Moigan  and  Fred  Kinney  are  engaged — ^and 
that's  quite  old,  by  this  time." 

Undeniably,  this  bit  of  mischief  was  entirely  suc- 
cessful, for  there  was  a  clatter  upon  George's  plate. 
"What — ^what  do  you  think  you're  talking  about?" 
he  gasped. 

Miss  Fanny  looked  up  innocently.  "About  the 
report  of  Lucy  Morgan's  engagement  to  Fred 

George  turned  dumbly  to  his  mother,  and  Isabel 
shook  her  head  reassuringly.  "People  are  always 
starting  rumours,"  6he  said.  "I  haven't  paid  any 
attention  to  this  one." 

'But  you — ^you've  heard  it?"  he  stammered. 
Oh,  one  hears  all  sorts  of  nonsense,  dear.    I 
haven't  the  slightest,  idea  that  it's  true." 
Then  you  have  heard  it!" 

I  wouldn't  let  it  take  my  appetite,"  his  father  sug- 
gested drily,  "  There  are  plenty  of  girls  in  the  world  !** 




George  turned  pale. 

"Eat  your  dinner,  Georgie,"  his  aunt  said  sweetly. 
"Food  will  do  you  good.  I  didn't  say  I  knew  this 
rumour  was  true.     I  only  said  I'd  heard  it." 

"When?     When  did  you  hear  it!" 

"Oh,  months  ago!"  And  Fanny  found  any  fur- 
ther postponement  of  laughter  impossible. 

"Fanny,  you're  a  hard-hearted  creature,"  Isabel 
said  gently.  "You  reaUy  are.  Don't  pay  any 
attention  to  her,  George.  Fred  Kinney's  only  a 
clerk  in  his  uncle's  hardware  place:  he  couldn't 
marry  for  ages — even  if  anybody  would  accept 

George  breathed  tumultuously.  "  I  don't  care  any- 
thing about  *ages ' !  What's  that  got  to  do  with  it?  " 
he  said,  his  thoughts  appearing  to  be  somewhat  dis- 
connected.    "'Ages,'  don't  mean  anything!    I  only 

want  to  know — ^I  want  to  know I  want '* 

He  stopped. 

"What  do  you  want?"  his  father  asked  crossly. 
"Why  don't  you  say  it?     Don't  make  such  a  fuss.'* 

"I'm  not — ^not  at  all,"  George  declared,  pushing 
his  chair  back  from  the  table. 

"You  must  finish  your  dinner,  dear,"  his  mother 
mrged.     "Don't " 


"I  have  finished.     I've  eaten  all  I  want.     I  don't 
want  any  more  than  I  wanted.    I  don't  want — ^I 
He    rose,    still    incoherent.     "I    prefer — I 


want Please  excuse  me ! " 

He  left  the  room,  and  a  moment  later  the  screens 
outside  the  open  front  door  were  heard  to  slam. 

"Fanny!     You  shouldn't " 

"Isabel,  don't  reproach  me.  He  did  have  plenty 
of  dinner,  and  I  only  told  the  truth:  everybody  has 
been  saying-^ " 

"But  there  isn't  any  truth  in  it." 

"  We  don't  actually  know  there  isn't,"  Miss  Fanny 
insisted,  giggling.     "We've  never  asked  Lucy." 

"I  wouldn't  ask  her  anything  so  absurd!" 

"George  would,"  George's  father  remarked. 
"That's  what  he's  gone  to  do." 

Mr.  Minaf er  was  not  mistaken :  that  was  what  his 
son  had  gone  to  do.  liUcy  and  her  father  were  just 
rising  from  their  dinner  table  when  the  stirred  youth 
arrived  at  the  front  door  of  the  new  house.  It  was 
a  cottage,  however,  rather  than  a  house;  and  Lucy 
had  taken  a  free  hand  with  the  architect,  achieving 
results  in  white  and  green,  outside,  and  white  and 
blue,  inside,  to  such  effect  of  youth  and  daintiness 
that  her  father  complained  of  "too  much  spring* 


time!"  The  whole  place,  including  his  own  bed« 
room,  was  a  young  damsel's  boudoir,  he  said,  so 
that  nowhere  could  he  smoke  a  dgar  without  feel- 
ing like  a  ruffian.  However,  he  was  smoking  when 
George  arrived,  and  he  encouraged  Greorge  to  join 
him  in  the  pastime,  but  the  caller,  whose  air  was 
both  tense  and  preoccupied,  declined  with  some- 
thing like  agitation. 

"I  never  smoke — that  is,  I'm  seldom — ^I  mean, 
no  thanks,"  he  said.  "'I  mean  not  at  all.  I'd 
rather  not." 

"Aren't  you  well,  George?"  Eugene  asked,  look- 
ing at  him  in  perplexity.  "Have  you  been  over- 
working at  college?    You  do  look  rather  pa " 

"I  don't  work,"  said  Greorge.  "I  mean  I  don't 
work.  I  think,  but  I  don't  work.  I  only  work  at 
the  end  of  tlie  term.    There  isn't  much  to  do." 

Eugene's  perplexity  was  httle  decreased,  and  a 
tinkle  of  the  door-bell  afforded  him  obvious  relief* 
It's  my  foreman,"  he  said,  looking  at  his  watdu 
I'll  take  him  out  in  the  yard  to  talk.  This  is  no 
place  for  a  foreman."  And  he  departed,  leaving  the 
**  living  room"  to  Lucy  and  George.  It  was  a  pretty 
room,  white  panelled  and  blue  curtained — ^and  no 
place  for  a  foreman,  as  Eugene  said.    There  was  a 


grand  piano,  and  Lucy  stood  leaning  back  against  it, 
looking  intently  at  George,  while  her  fingers,  behind 
her,  absently  struck  a  chord  or  two.  And  her  dress 
was  the  dress  for  that  room,  being  of  blue  and  white, 
too;  and  the  high  colour  in  her  cheeks  was  far  from 
mterfering  with  the  general  harmony  of  things — 
George  saw  with  dismay  that  she  was  prettier  than 
ever,  and  naturally  he  missed  the  reassurance  he 
might  have  felt  had  he  been  able  to  guess  that  Lucy, 
on  her  part,  was  finding  him  better  looking  than 
ever.  For,  however  unusual  the  scope  of  George's 
pride,  vanity  of  beauty  was  not  included;  he  did  not 
think  about  his  looks. 

"What's  wrong,  George?"  she  asked  softly. 

"What  do  you  mean:  *What*s  wrong?'" 

"You're  awfully  upset  about  something.  Didn't 
fou  get  though  your  examination  all  right?" 

"Certainly  I  did.  What  makes  you  think  any- 
thing's  *wrong'  with  me?" 

"You  do  look  pale,  as  papa  said,  and  it  seemed 
to  me  tliat  the  way  you  talked  sounded — ^well,  a 
little  confused." 

"'Confused'!    I   said   I   didn't  care   to   smoke« 
What  in  the  world  is  confused  about  that?" 
Nothing.    But- 

«XT^xl.i "D-.x  » 


"See  here!"  George  stepped  close  to  her.     *Mi' 
you  glad  to  see  me?" 

"You  needn't  be  so  fierce  about  it!"  Lucy  pro- 
tested, laughing  at  his  dramatic  intensity.  "Of 
course  I  am !  How  long  have  I  been  looking  forward 
to  it?" 

"I  don't  know,"  he  said  sharply,  abating  nothing 
of  his  fierceness.     "How  long  have  you?" 

"Why — ^ver  since  you  went  away!" 

"Is  that  true?    Lucy,  is  that  true?" 

"You  are  funny!"  she  said.  "Of  course  it's  true. 
Do  tell  me  what's  the  matter  with  you,  George!" 

"I  will!"  he  exclaimed.  "I  was  a  boy  when  I  saw 
you  last.  I  see  that  now,  though  I  didn't  then.  WelL 
I'm  not  a  boy  any  longer.  I'm  a  man,  and  a  man 
has  a  right  to  demand  a  totally  different  treatment." 

"Why  has  he?" 


"I  don't  seem  to  be  able  to  understand  you  at  all, 
George.  Why  shouldn't  a  boy  be  treated  just  as 
well  as  a  man?" 

George  seemed  to  find  himself  at  a  loss.     "Why 

shouldn't Well,  he  shouldn't,  because  a  man 

has  a  right  to  certain  explanations." 
What  explanations?  " 



"Whether  he*s  been  made  a  toy  of!"  George 
almost  shouted.     ^^Thats  what  I  want  to  know!" 

Lucy  shook  her  head  despairingly.  "You  are  the 
queerest  person!  You  say  you're  a  man  now,  but 
you  talk  more  like  a  boy  than  ever.  What  does  make 
you  so  excited?" 

''Excited!'*'  he  stormed.  "Do  you  dare  to 
stand  there  and  call  me  'excited'?  I  tell  you,  I 
never  have  been  more  calm  or  calmer  in  my  life! 
I  don't  know  that  a  person  needs  to  be  called  *excited ' 
because  he  demands  explanations  that  are  his  simple 

What  in  the  world  do  you  want  me  to  explain?" 
Your    conduct    with    Fred    Kinney  T'    George 

Lucy  uttered  a  sudden  cry  of  laughter;  she  was 
delighted.  "It's  been  awful!"  she  said.  "I  don't 
know  that  I  ever  heard  of  worse  misbehaviour !  Papa 
and  I  have  been  twice  to  dinner  with  his  family, 
and  I've  been  three  times  to  church  with  Fred — ^and 
once  to  the  circus!  I  don't  know  when  they'll  be 
here  to  arrest  me!" 

"Stop  that!"  George  commanded  fiercely.  "I 
want  to  know  just  one  thing,  and  I  mean  to  know  it, 




••Whether  I  enjoyed  the  circus?** 

*^I  want  to  know  if  you*re  engaged  to  him!** 

"^No!"  she  cried-  and  lifting  her  face  close  to  hi$ 
for  the  shortest  instant  possible,  she  gave  him  a  look 
half  merry,  half  defiant,  but  all  fond.  It  was  an 
adorable  look. 

"iticy/**  he  said  huskily. 

But  she  turned  quickly  from  him,  and  ran  to  the 
other  end  of  the  room.  He  followed  awkwardly, 

"Lucy,  I  want — ^I  want  to  ask  you.  Will  you — 
will  you — will  you  be  engaged  to  Twe.^'* 

She  stood  at  a  window,  seeming  to  look  out  intc 
the  sunmier  darkness,  her  back  to  him. 

"Will  you,  Lucy?** 

"No,**  she  murmured,  just  audibly. 

"Why  not?" 

"Fm  older  than  you.** 

"Eight  months!'* 

"You*re  too  young.** 

"Is  that—**  he  said,  gulping— "is  that  the  only 
reason  you  won*t?'* 

She  did  not  answer. 

As  she  stood,  persistently  staring  out  of  the  win- 
dow, with  her  back  to  him,  she  did  not  see  how  hum« 


ble  his  attitude  had  become;  but  his  voice  was  low, 
and  it  shook  so  that  she  could  have  no  doubt 
of  his  emotion.  "  Lucy,  please  forgive  me  for  making 
Sttch  a  row,"  he  said,  thus  gently.  "I've  been  — ^IVe 
been  terribly  upset — terribly !  You  know  how  I  feel 
about  you,  and  always  have  felt  al>out  you.  I've 
shown  it  in  every  single  thing  I've  done  since  the  first 
^imelmet  you,and  I  knowyou  knowit.    Don't  you?'*^ 

Still  she  did  not  move  or  speak. 

"Is  the  only  reason  you  won't  be  engaged  to  me 
you  think  I'm  too  young,  Lucy?" 

"It's — ^it's  reason  enough,"  she  said  faintly. 

At  th<at  he  caught  one  of  her  hands,  and  she 
turned  to  him:  there  were  tears  in  her  eyes,  tears 
which  he  did  not  imderstand  at  all. 

"Lucy,    you    little    dear!"    he   cried.     "I    knem 

you " 

"No,  no!"  she  said,  and  she  pushed  him  away^ 
withdrawing  her  hand.  ""  George,  let's  not  talk  of 
^lemn  things." 

Solemn  things!'     Like  what?" 
Like — being  engaged." 
But  George  had  become  altogether  jubilant,,  and 
he   laughed   triumphantly.    *'6ood   gracious^    iAat 
*t  solemn ! " 

« ti 



"It  is,  too!*'  she  said,  wiping  her  eyes.  "It*s 
too  solemn  for  us/' 

"No,  it  isn't!    I " 

"I^et's  sit  down  and  be  sensible,  dear,"  she  said 
**You  sit  over  there " 

"I  will  if  you'll  call  me  *dear'  again." 

"No,"  she  said.    "I'll  only  call  you  that  once 



again  this  summer — ^the  night  before  you  go  away." 
"That  will  have  to  do,  then,"  he  laughed,  *'so 
long  as  I  know  we're  engaged." 

"But  we're^^t!"  she  protested.  "And  we  nevef 
will  be,  if  you  donVpromise  not  to  speak  of  it  again 
until — ^until  I  tell  you 

I  won't  promise  that,"  salfl^the  happy  George. 
I'll  only  promise  not  to  speak  of  it  till  the  next 
time  you  call  me  *dear':  and  you've  promised  to  call 
me  that  the  night  before  I  leave  for  my  senior 

"Oh,  but  I  didn't!"  she  said  earnestly,  then  hesi- 
tated.    "Did  I?" 
Didn't  you?" 

I  don't  think  I  meant  it,"  she  murmured,   her 
wet  lashes  flickering  above  troubled  eyes. 

"I  know  one  thing  about  you,"  he  said  gayly,  his 
triumph   increasing.     '"^You   never   went  back   cm 




anything  you  said,  yet,  and  I*m  not  afraid  of  this 


being  the  first  time! 

"But  we  mustn't  let "   she  faltered;   then 

went  on  tremulously,  "George,  we've  got  on  so 
well  together,  we  won't  let  this  make  a  difference 
between  us,  will  we?  "    And  she  joined  in  his  laughter. 

"It  will  all  depend  on  what  you  tell  me  the  night 
before  I  go  away.  You  agree  we're  going  to  settle 
tilings  then,  don't  you,  Lucy?" 

"I  don't  promise." 

"Yes,  you  do!  Don't  yeu?" 

"Wett " 



THAT  night  George  began  a  jubilant  war 
fare  upon  his  Aunt  Fanny,  opening  the 
campaign  upon  his  return  home  at  about 
eleven  o'clock.  Fanny  had  retired,  and  was  pre- 
sumably asleep,  but  George,  on  the  way  to  his  own 
room,  paused  before  her  door,  and  serenaded  her 
in  a  full  baritone; 

"As  I  walk  along  the  Boy  de  Balong 

With  my  independent  air. 

The  people  all  declare, 

*He  must  be  a  millionaire!' 
Ohi  you  hear  them  sigh,  and  wish  to  die» 

And  see  them  wink  the  other  eye 
At  the  man  that  broke  the  bank  at  Monte  Carlo! 


Isabel  came  from  George's  room,  where  she  had 
been  reading,  waiting  for  him.  "I'm  afraid  you'll 
disturb  yoiu*  father,  dear.  I  wish  you'd  sing  more, 
though — ^in    the    daytime!     You    have   a   splendid 


"Good-night,  old  lady!" 



"I  thought  perhaps  I-^ —  Didn't  you  want  me  to 
come  in  with  you  and  talk  a  little?" 

"Not  to-night.  You  go  to  bed.  Good-night, 
old  lady!" 

He  kissed  her  hilariously,  entered  his  room  with  a 
skip,  closed  his  door  noisily;  and  then  he  could  be 
heard  tossing  things  about,  loudly  humming  "The 
Man  that  Broke  the  Bank  at  Monte  Carlo." 

Smiling,  his  mother  knelt  outside  his  door  to 
pray;  then,  with  her  "Amen,"  pressed  her  lips  to 
the  bronze  door-knob;  and  went  silently  to  lier  own 

.  .  .  After  breakfasting  in  bed,  George  spent 
the  next  morning  at  his  grandfather's  and  did  not 
encounter  his  Aunt  Fanny  until  lunch,  when  she 
seemed  to  be  ready  for  him. 

"Thank  you  so  much  for  the  serenade,  George!" 
she  said.  "  Your  poor  father  tells  me  he'd  just  got  to 
sleep  for  the  first  time  in  two  nights,  but  after  your 
kind  attentions  he  lay  awake  the  rest  of  last  night.'* 

"Perfectly  true,"  Mr.  Minafer  said  grimly. 

"Of  course,  I  didn't  know,  sir,"  George  hastened 
to  assure  him.  "I'm  awfully  sorry.  But  Aunt 
Fanny  was  so  gloomy  and  excited  before  I  went  out, 
last  evening,  I  thought  she  needed  cheering  up/* 


**//*'  Fanny  jeered.  "J  was  gloomy?  /  was 
exdted?    You  mean  about  that  engagement?'' 

"Yes.  Weren't  you?  I  thought  I  heard  you 
worrying  over  somebody's  being  engaged.  Didn't 
I  hear  you  say  you'd  heard  Mr.  Eugene  Morgan 
was  engaged  to  marry  some  pretty  little  seventeen- 
year-old  girl?" 

Fanny  was  stung,  but  she  made  a  brave  effort* 
'^Did  you  ask  Lucy?"  she  said,  her  voice  almost 
refusing  the  teasing  laugh  she  tried  to  make  it  utter^ 
"Did  you  ask  her  when  Fred  Kinney  and  she " 

"Yes.     That  story  wasn't  true.    But  the  other 

one "    Here   he   stared   at   Fanny,    and   then 

affected  dismay.  "Why,  what's  the  matter  with 
your  face.  Aunt  Fanny?    It  seems  agitated!" 

*** Agitated !' "  Fanny  said  disdainfully,  but  her 
voio^  undeniably  lacked  steadiness.     "^Agitated!"' 

"Oh,  come!"  Mr.  Minafer  interposed.  "Let's 
have  a  little  peace ! " 

"I'm  willing,"  said  George.  "/  don't  want  to 
see  poor  Aunt  Fanny  all  stirred  up  over  a  rumour  I 
just  this  minute  invented  myself.  She's  so  excit- 
able— about  certain  subjects — ^it's  hard  to  control 
her."  He  turned  to  his  mother.  "What's  the 
matter  with  grandfather r" 


'''Didn't  you  see  liim  this  morning?''  Isabel 

^^Yes.  He  was  glad  to  see  me,  and  all  that,  but 
he  seemed  pretty  fidgety.  Has  he  been  having 
trouble  with  his  heart  again?" 

"Not  lately.    No." 

"Well,  he's  not  himself.  I  tried  to  talk  to  him 
about  the  estate;  it's  disgraceful — ^it  really  is — ^the 
way  things  are  looking.  He  wouldn't  Usten>  and  he 
seemed  upset.    What's  he  upset  over?" 

Isabel  looked  serious;  however,  it  was  hut  husband 
who  suggested  gloomily,  "I  suppose  the  Major's 
bothered  about  this  Sydney  and  Amelia  business, 
most  likely." 

"What  Sydney  and  Amelia  business?"  George 

"Your  mother  can  tell  you,  if  she  wants  to,*' 
Minafer  said.  "It's  not  my  side  of  the  family,  so 
I  keep  oflF." 

"It's  rather  disagreeable  for  all  of  us,  Georgie," 
Isabel  began.  "You  see,  your  IJnde  Sydney  wanted 
a  diplomatic  position,  and  he  thought  brother 
George,  being  in  Congress,  could  arrange  it.  George 
did  get  him  the  offer  of  a  South  American  ministry, 
but  Sydney  wanted  a  European  ambassadorship. 


and  he  got  quite  indignant  with  poor  George  for 
thinking  he'd  take  anything  smaller — ^and  he  believes 
George  didn't  work  hard  enough  for  him.  •  George 
had  done  his  best,  of  course,  and  now  he's  out  of 
Congress,  and  won't  run  again — so  there's  Sydney's 
idea  of  a  big  diplomatic  position  gone  for  good. 
Well,  Sydney  and  yoiu*  Aunt  Amelia  are  terribly  dis- 
appointed, and  they  say  they've  been  thinking  for 
years  that  this  town  isn't  really  fit  to  live  in— *for 
a  gentleman/  Sydney  says — and  it  is  getting  rather 
big  and  dirty.  So  they've  sold  their  Jiouse  and 
decided  to  go  abroad  to  live  permanently;  there's 
a  villa  near  Florence  they've  often  talked  of  buying. 
And  they  want  father  to  let  them  have  their  share 
of  the  estate  now,  instead  of  waiting  for  him  to 
leave  it  to  them  in  his  will." 

"Well,  I  suppose  that's  fair  enough,"  George 
said.  "  That  is,  in  case  he  intended  to  leave  them  a 
certain  amount  in  his  will." 

"Of  course  that's  understood,  Georgie.  Father 
explained  his  will  to  us  long  ago;  a  third  to  them» 
and  a  third  to  brother  George,  and  a  third  to  us." 

Her  son  made  a  simple  calculation  in  his  mind. 
Uncle  Seorge  was  a  bachelor,  and  probably  would 
never  marry;  Sydney  and  Amelia  were  childless. 


The  Major's  only  grandchild  appeared  to  remain 
the  eventual  heir  of  the  entire  property,  no  matter 
if  the  Major  did  turn  over  to  Sydney  a  third  of  it 
now.  And  George  had  a  fragmentary  vision  of 
himself,  in  mourning,  arriving  to  take  possession  of 
a  historic  Florentine  villa^ — ^he  saw  himself  walking 
up  a  cypress-bordered  path,  with  ancient  carven  stone 
balustrades  in  the  distance,  and  servants  in  mourning 
livery  greeting  the  new  signore.  "  Well,  I  suppose  it*s 
grandfather's  own  affair.  He  can  do  it  or  not,  just 
as  he  likes.     I  don't  see  why  he'd  mind  much." 

"He  seemed  rather  confused  and  pained  about 
it,"  Isabel  said.  "I  think  they  oughtn't  to  urge  it. 
George  says  that  the  estate  won't  stand  taking  out 
the  third  that  Sydney  wants,  and  that  Sydney  and 
Amelia  are  behaving  like  a  couple  of  pigs."  She 
laughed,  continuing,  "Of  course  /  don't  know 
whether  they  are  or  not:  I  never  have  understood 
any  more  about  business  myself  than  a  little  pig 
would!  But  I'm  on  George's  side,  whether  he's 
right  or  wrong;  J  always  was  from  the  time  we  were 
children:  and  Sydney  and  Amelia  are  hurt  with  me 
about  it,  I'm  afraid.  They've  stopped  speaking  to 
George  entirely.  Poor  father!  Family  rows  at  his 
time  of  life." 


George  became  thoughtful.  If  Sydney  and  Ame- 
lia were  behaving  like  pigs,  things  might  not  be  s« 
simple  as  at  first  they  seemed  to  be.  Uncle  Sydney 
and  Aunt  Amelia  might  live  an  atcful  long  while, 
he  thought;  and  besides,  people  didn't  always  leave 
their  fortunes  to  relatives.  Sydney  might  die  first, 
leaving  everything  to  his  widow,  and  some  curly- 
haired  Italian  adventurer  might  get  round  her,  OYet 
thare  in  Florence;  she  might  be  fool  enough  to  many 
again — or  even  adopt  somebody! 

He  became  more  and  more  thoughtful,  forgetting 
entirely  a  plan  he  had  formed  for  the  continued  teas- 
ing of  his  Aunt  Fanny;  and,  an  hour  after  lunch,  he 
strolled  over  to  his  grandfather's,  intending  to 
apply  for  further  information,  as  a  party  rightfully 

He  did  not  carry  out  this  intention,  howeve  • 
Going  into  the  big  house  by  h  side  entrance,  he  was 
informed  that  the  Major  was  upstairs  in  his  bed- 
room, that  his  sons  Sydney  and  George  were  both 
with  him,  and  that  a  serious  argument  was  in  prog- 
ress. ^'You  kin  stan'  right  in  de  middle  dat  big. 
Bta'y-way,"  said  Old  Sam,  the  ancient  negro,  who 
was  his  informant,  ^*  an'  you  kin  heah  all  you  a-mind 
ttt  wivout  goin'  on  up  no  fudda.    Mist'  Sydney  an* 


Mist'  Jawge  talkin'  louduh'n  I  evuh  heah  nobody 
ca'y  on  in  nish  heah  house!  Quollin%  honey,  big 

**A11  ri^t,"  said  George  shortly.  "You  go  on 
back  to  your  own  part  of  the  house,  and  dcm't  mak« 
any  talk.    Hear  me?" 

"Yessuh,  yessuh/'  Sam  chuckled,  as  he  shuiBed 
away.    "Plenty  talkin'  wivout  Sam!    Yessuh!"    ^ 

George  went  to  the  foot  of  the  great  stairway. 
He  could  hear  angry  voices  overhead — ^those  of  his 
two  uncles — ^and  a  plaintive  murmur,  as  if  the 
Major  tried  to  keep  the  peace. 

Such  sounds  were  far  from  encouraging  to  callers, 
and  George  decided  not  to  go  upstairs  until  this 
interview  was  over.  His  decision  was  the  result  of 
no  timidity,  nor  of  a  too  sensitive  delicacy.  What 
he  felt  was,  that  if  he  interrupted  the  scene  in  his 
grandfather's  room,  just  at  this  time,  one  of  the 
three  gentlemen  engaging  in  it  might  speak  to  him 
in  a  peremptory  manner  (in  the  heat  of  the  moment) 
and  George  saw  no  reason  for  exposing  his  dignity 
to  such  mischances.  Therefore  he  turned  from  the 
stairway,  and  going  quietly  into  the  library,  picked 
up  a  magazine — ^but  he  did  not  open  it,  for  his  atten- 
tion  was  instantly  arrested  by  his  Aunt  Amelia'a 



voice,  speaking  in  the  next  room.     The  door  was 
open  and  George  heard  her  distinctly. 

"Isabel  does?  Isabel!*^  she  exclaimed,  her  tone 
high  and  shrewish.  "You  needn't  tell  me  anything 
about  Isabel  Minafer,  I  guess,  my  dear  old  Frank 
Bronson!  I  know  her  a  little  better  than  you  do, 
don't  you  think?" 

George  heard  the  voice  of  Mr.  Bronson  replying 
— ^a  voice  familiar  to  him  as  that  of  his  grandfather's 
attomey-in-chief  and  chief  intimate  as  well.  He  was 
a  contemporary  of  the  Major's,  being  over  seventy^ 
and  they  had  been  through  three  years  of  the  War 
in  the  same  regiment.  Amelia  addressed  him  now. 
with  an  eflPect  of  angry  mockery,  as  "my  dear  bid 
Frank  Bronson";  but  that  (without  the  mockery) 
was  how  the  Amberson  family  almost  always  spoke  oi 
him:  "dear  old  Frank  Bronson."  He  was  a  hale, 
thin  old  man,  six  feet  three  inches  tall,  and  without 
a  stoop. 

"I  doubt  your  knowing  Isabel,"  he  said  stiflBy. 
"You  speak  of  her  as  you  do  because  she  sides  with 
her  brother  George,  instead  of  with  you  and  Sydney." 

^^Pootl*^  Aunt  Amelia  was  evidently  in  a  pas- 
sion. "You  know  what's  been  going  on  over  ther^ 
well  enough,  Frank  Bronson  J" 


**I  don't  even  know  what  you're  talking  about/* 

"Oh,  you  don't?  You  don't  know  that  Isabel 
takes  George's  side  simply  because  he's  Eugene 
Morgan's  best  friend?" 

"It  seems  to  me  you're  talking  pure  nonsense," 
said  Bronson  sharply.  "Not  impure  nonsense,  I 

Amelia  became  shrill.  "  I  thought  you  were  a  man 
of  the  world:  don't  tell  me  you're  blind!  For 
nearly  two  years  Isabel's  been  pretending  to  chap* 
erone  Fanny  Minafer  with  Eugene,  and  all  the  time 
she's  been  dragging  that  poor  fool  Fanny  around  to 
chaperone  her  and  Eugene!  Under  the  circum-* 
stances,  she  knows  people  will  get  to  thinking  Fanny's 
a  pretty  sUm  kind  of  chaperone,  and  Isabel  wants  to 
please  George  because  she  thinks  there'll  be  less  talk 
if  she  can  keep  her  own  •brother  around,  seeming  to 
approve.  'Talk!'  She'd  better  look  out!  The 
whole  town  will  be  talking,  the  first  thing  she  knows! 
She " 

Amelia  stopped,  and  stared  at  the  doorway  in  a 
panic,  for  her  nephew  stood  there. 

She  kept  her  eyes  upon  his  white  face  for  a  few 
strained  moments,  then,  regaining  her  nerve,  looked 
away  and  shrugged  her  shoulders. 


"You  weren't  intended  to  hear  what  I've  been 
saying,  George,"  she  said  quietly.  "But  since 
you  seem  to " 

"Yes,  I  did." 

"  So ! "  She  shrugged  her  shoulders  again.  "  After 
all,  I  don't  know  but  it's  just  as  well,  in  the  long 

He  walked  up  to  where  she  sat.  "You— you ** 

he  said  thickly.  "It  seems — ^it  seems  to  me  you're 
— ^you're  pretty  common!" 

Amelia  tried  to  give  the  impression  of  an  uncon- 
cerned person  laughing  with  complete  indifference^ 
but  the  sounds  she  produced  wei^  disjointed  and 
uneasy.  She  fanned  herself,  looking  out  of  the  open 
window  near  her.  "Of  course,  if  you  want  to  make 
more  trouble  in  the  family  than  we've  already  got, 
George,  with  your  eavesdropping,  you  can  go  and 
r^>eat " 

Old  Bronson  had  risen  from  his  chair  in  great 
distress.  "Your  aunt  was  talking  nonsense  because 
she's  piqued  over  a  business  matter,  George,"  he 
said.  "She  doesn't  mean  what  she  said,  and  neither 
she  nor  any  one  else  gives  the  slightest  credit  to  such 
foolishness — ^no  one  in  the  world!" 

George  gulped,   and   wet  lines  shone  suddenly 


along  his  lower  eyelids.  "They — they'd  better  not!'* 
he  said,  then  stalked  out  of  the  room,  and  out  of  the 
house.  He  stamped  fiercely  across  the  stone  slabs 
of  the  front  porch,  descended  the  steps,  and  halted 
abruptly,  blinking  in  the  strong  sunshme. 

In  front  of  his  own  gate,  beyond  the  Major's 
broad  lawn,  his  mother  was  just  getting  into  her  vic- 
toria, where  sat  already  his  Aunt  Fanny  and  Lucy 
Morgan.  It  was  a  summer  fashion-picture:  the 
three  ladies  charmingly  dressed,  delicate  parasols 
aloft;  the  lines  of  the  victoria  graceful  as  those  of  a 
violin;  the  trim  pair  of  bays  in  glistening  harness 
picked  out  with  silver,  and  the  serious  black  driver 
whom  Isabel,  being  an  Amberson,  dared  even  in 
that  town  to  put  into  a  black  livery  coat,  boots,  white 
breeches,  and  cockaded  hat.  They  jingled  smartly 
away,  and,  seeing  George  standing  on  the  Major's 
lawn,  Lu(7  waved,  and  Isabel  threw  him  a  kiss. 

But  George  shuddered,  pretending  not  to  see  them» 
and  stooped  as  if  searching  for  something  lost  in  the 
grass,  protracting  that  posture  until  the  victoria  was 
out  of  hearing.  And  ten  minutes  later»  George 
Amberson,  somewhat  in  the  semblance  of  an  angry 
person  plunging  out  of  the  Mansion,  found  a  pale 
nephew  waiting  to  accost  him. 


I  haven't  time  to  talk,  Georgie." 
Yes,  you  have.     You'd  better!" 
What's  the  matter,  then?" 

His  namesake  drew  him  away  from  the  vicinity  oi 
the  house.  "I  want  to  tell  you  something  I  just 
heard  Aunt  Amelia  say,  in  there." 

"I  don't  want  to  hear  it,^'  said  Amberson.     "I've 
been  hearing  entirely  too  much  of  what  *Aunt  Amelia 
says,  lately." 

"She  says  my  mother's  on  your  side  about  this 
division  of  the  property  because  you're  Eugene 
Morgan's  best  friend." 

"What  in  the  name  of  heaven  has  that  got  to  df 
with  your  mother's  being  on  my  side?" 

"She    said "     George    paused    to    swallow- 

"She  said "     He  faltered. 

"You  look  sick,"  said  his  imcle,  and  laughed 
shortly.  "If  it's  because  of  anything  Amelia's  beep 
saying,  I  don't  blame  you!  What  else  did  she 

George  swallowed  again,  as  with  nausea,  but  under 
his  uncle's  encouragement  he  was  able  to  be  explicit. 
**She  said  my  mother  wanted  you  to  be  friendly  to 
her  about  Eugene  Morgan.  She  said  my  mother  had 
been  using  Aunt  Fanny  as  a  chaperone." 


Amberson  emitted  a  laugh  of  disgust.  "It'a 
vvonderful  what  tommy-rot  a  woman  in  a  state  of 
spite  can  think  of!  I  suppose  you  don't  doubt  that 
Amelia  Amberson  created  this  specimen  of  tommy- 
rot  herself?" 

"I  know  she  did." 

"Then  what's  the  matter?" 

"She  said — — "  George  faltered  again.  "She 
said — ^she  implied  people  were — were  talking  about 

"Of  all  the  damn  nonsense!"  his  uncle  exclaimed. 

George  looked  at  him  haggardly.  "You're  surte 
they're  not?" 

"Rubbish!.  Your  mother's  on  my  side  about  this 
division  because  she  knows  Sydney's  a  pig  and  always 
has  been  a  pig,  and  so  has  his  spiteful  wife.  I'm 
trying  to  keep  them  from  getting  the  better  of  your 
mother  as  well  as  from  getting  the  better  of  me,  don't 
you  suppose?  Well,  they're  in  a  rage  because  Syd- 
ney always  could  do  what  he  liked  with  father  unless 
your  mother  interfered,  and  they  know  I  got  Isabel 
to  ask  him  not  to  do  what  they  wanted.  They're 
keeping  up  the  fight  and  they're  sore — ^and  Amelia's 
a  woman  who  always  says  any  damn  thing  that 
comes  into  her  head!    That's  all  there  is  to  it." 


*'But  she  said/'  George  persisted  wretchedly;  ^Ae 
said  there  was  iaUe.    She  said '* 

''Look  here,  young  fellow!"  Amberson  laughed 
good-naturedly.  "There  probably  is  some  harmless 
talk  about  the  way  your  Aunt  Fanny  goes  after  poor 
Eugene,  and  IVe  no  doubt  I Ve  abetted  it  myself. 
People  can't  help  being  amused  by  a  thing  like  that. 
Fanny  was  always  languishing  at  him,  twenty-odd 
years  ago,  before  he  left  here.  Well,  we  can't 
blame  the  poor  thing  if  she's  got  her  hopes  up 
again,  and  I  don't  know  that  I  blame  her,  myself, 
for  using  your  mother  the  way  she  does." 

"How  do  you  mean?" 

Amberson  put  his  hand  on  George's  shoulder. 
"You  like  to  tease  Fanny,"  he  said,  "but  I  wouldn't 
tease  her  about  this,  if  I  were  you.  Fanny  hasn't 
got  much  in  her  life.  You  know,  Georgie,  just  being 
an  aunt  isn't  really  the  great  career  it  may  sometimes 
appear  to  you!  In  fact,  I  don't  know  of  anything 
much  that  Fanny  hcts  got,  except  her  feeling  about 
Eugene.  She's  always  had  it — and  what's  funny  to 
us  is  pretty  much  life-and-death  to  her,  I  suspect. 
Now,  I'll  not  deny  that  Eugene  Morgan  is  at- 
tracted to  your  mother.  He  is;  and  that's  another 
case  of  'always  was';  but  I  know  him,  and  he's  a 


knight,  George — ^a  crazy  one,  perhaps,  if  youVe 
read  ^Don  Quixote/  And  I  think  your  mother  likes 
him  better  than  she  likes  any  man  outside  her  own 
family,  and  that  he  interests  her  more  than  anybody 
else — and  ^always  has.'  And  that's  all  there  is  to  it, 
except " 

"Except  what?"  George  asked  quickly,  as  he 

"Except  that  I  suspect "  Amberson  chuckled, 

and  began  over :  "  I'll  tell  you  in  confidence.  I  think 
Fanny's  a  fairly  tricky  customer,  for  such  an  innocent 
old  girl!  There  isn't  any  real  harm  in  her,  but  ^he's 
a  great  diplomatist—lots  of  cards  up  her  laoe  sleeves, 
Georgie !  By  the  way,  did  you  ever  notice  how  proud 
she  is  of  her  arms?  Always  flashing  'em  at  poor 
Eugene ! "    And  he  stopped  to  laugh  again. 

"I  don't  see  anything  confidential  about  that," 
George  complained.     "I  thought '* 

"Wait  a  minute!  My  idea  is — don't  forget  it's  a 
confidential  one,  but  I'm  devilish  right  about  it, 
young  Georgie ! — it's  this :  Fanny  uses  your  mother 
for  a  decoy  duck.  She  does  everything  in  the  world 
she  can  to  keep  your  mother's  friendship  with 
Eugene  going,  because  she  thinks  that's  what  keeps 
Eugene  about  the  place,  so  to  speak.    Fanny's  al- 


ways  with  your  mother,  you  see;  and  whenever  he 
sees  Isabel  he  sees  Fanny.  Fanny  thinks  hell 
get  used  to  the  idea  of  her  being  around^  and  some 
day  her  chance  may  come !  You  see,  she's  probably 
afraid — ^perhaps  she  even  knows,  poor  thing! — 
that  she  wouldn't  get  to  see  much  of  Eugene  if  it 
weren't  for  Isabel's  being  such  a  friend  of  his. 
There!    D'you  see?" 

"Well — I  suppose  so."  George's  brow  was  still 
dark,  however.  "If  you're  sure  whatever  talk 
there  is,  is  about  Aunt  Fanny.    If  that's  so " 

"Don't  be  an  ass,"  his  uncle  advised  him  lightly, 
moving  away.  "  I'm  off  for  a  week's  fishing  to  forget 
that  woman  in  there,  and  her  pig  of  a  husband." 
(His  gesture  toward  the  Mansion  indicated  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Sydney  Amberson.)  "I  recommend  a 
like  course  to  you,  if  you're  silly  enough  to  pay  any 
attention  to  such  rubbishings!     Good-bye!" 

.  .  .  George  was  partially  reassured,  but  still 
troubled :  a  word  haunted  him  like  the  recollection  of 
a  nightmare.     "  Talk  I " 

He  stood  looking  at  the  houses  across  the  streei^ 
from  the  Mansion;  and  though  the  sunshine  wsu! 
bright  upon  them,  they  seemed  mysteriously  threat- 
ening.   He  had  always  despised  them,  except  th^ 


largest  of  them,  which  was  the  home  of  his  hench- 
man, Charlie  Johnson.  The  Johnsons  had  originally 
owned  a  lot  three  hundred  feet  wide,  but  they  had 
sold  all  of  it  except  the  meagre  frontage  before  the 
house  itself,  and  five  houses  were  now  crowded  into 
the  space  where  one  used  to  squire  it  so  spaciously. 
Up  and  down  the  street,  the  same  transformation 
had  taken  place:  every  big,  comfortable  old  brick 
house  now  had  two  or  three  smaller  frame  neighbours 
crowding  up  to  it  on  each  side,  cheap-looking  neigh- 
bours, most  of  them  needing  paint  and  not  clean 
— and  yet,  though  they  were  cheap  looking,  they  had 
cost  as  much  to  build  as  the  big  brick  houses,  whose 
former  ample  yards  they  occupied.  Only  where 
George  stood  was  there  left  a  cward  as  of  yore;  the 
great,  level,  green  lawn  that  Served  for  both  the 
Major's  house  and  his  daughter's.  This  serene 
domain — ^unbroken,  except  for  the  two  gravelled 
carriage-drives — alone  remained  as  it  had  been 
during  the  early  glories  of  the  Amberson  Addition. 

George  stared  at  the  ugly  houses  opposite,  and 
hated  them  more  than  ever;  but  he  shivered.  Per- 
haps the  riffraff  living  in  those  houses  sat  at  the 
windows  to  watch  their  betters;  perhaps  they  dared 
to  gossip 


He  uttered  an  exdamation,  and  walked  rapidly 
toward  his  own  front  gate.  The  victoria  had  re- 
turned with  Miss  Fanny  alone;  she  jumped  out 
briskly  and  the  victoria  waited. 

'"Where's  mother?"  George  asked  sharply,  as 
he  met  her. 

''At  Lucy's.  I  only  came  back  to  get  some  em- 
broidery, because  we  found  the  sun  too  hot  for 
driving.    Fm  in  a  hurry." 

But,  going  into  the  house  with  her,  he  detained 
her  when  she  would  have  hastened  upstairs. 

''I  haven't  time  to  talk  now,  Georgie;  I'm  going 
right  back.    I  promised  your  mother " 

"You  listen!"  said  George. 

"What  on  earth " 

He  repeated  what  Amelia  had  said.  This  time, 
however,  he  spoke  coldly,  and  without  the  emotion 
he  had  exhibited  during  the  recital  to  his  uncle: 
Fanny  was  the  one  who  showed  agitation  during 
this  interview,  for  she  grew  fiery  red,  and  her  eyes 
dilated.  "What  on  earth  do  you  want  to  bring  such 
trash  to  me  for?"  she  demanded,  breathing  fast. 

"I  merely  wished  to  know  two  things:  whether 
it  is  your  duty  or  mine  to  speak  to  father  of  what 
Aunt  Amelia " 


Fanny  stamped  her  foot.     "You  little  fool!"  she 
cried.     "  You  awful  little  fool ! " 
"I  decline " 

"Decline,  my  hat!  Your  father's  a  sick  maiu 
and  you '' 

"He  doesn't  seem  so  to  me.** 

"Well,  he  does  to  me!  And  you  want  to  go 
troubling  him  with  an  Amberson  family  row!  IV s 
just  what  that  cat  would  love  you  to  do! ** 

"WeU,  I ** 

"Tell  your  father  if  yoii  like!  It  will  only  make 
him  a  little  sicker  to  think  he's  got  a  son  silly  enough 
to  listen  to  such  craziness!" 

"Then  you're  sure  there  isn't  any  talk?" 

Fanny  disdained  a  reply  in  words.     She  made  a 

hissing  sound  of  utter  contempt  and  snapped  her 

•  . 

fingers.     Then  she  asked  scornfully:    "What's  the 
other  thing  you  wanted  to  know?" 

George's  pallor  increased.  "Whether  it  mightn't 
be  better,  under  the  circumstances,"  he  said,  "if 
this  family  were  not  so  intimate  with  the  Morgan 
family — at  least  for  a  time.     It  might  be  better " 

Fanny  stared  at  him  incredulously.  "You  mean 
you'd  quit  seeing  Lucy?" 

^Iluuin't  thought  of  that  side  of  it,  but  if  such  a 




thing  were  necessary  on  account  of  talk  about  my 

mother,   I — ^I "   He   hesitated    unhappily.     "I 

suggested  that  if  all   of  us — for  a  time — perhaps 
only  for  a  time — ^it  might  be  better  if " 

"See  here,"  she  interruped.  "We*U  settle  this 
nonsense  right  now.  If  Eugene  Morgan  comes  to 
this  house,  for  instance,  to  see  me,  your  mother  can't 
get  up  and  leave  the  place  the  minute  he  gets  here, 
can  she?  What  do  you  want  her  to  do:  insult  him? 
Or  perhaps  you*d  prefer  she'd  insult  Lucy?  That 
would  do  just  as  well.  What  is  it  you're  up  to, 
anyhow?  Do  you  really  love  your  Aunt  Amelia 
so  much  that  you  want  to  please  her?  Or  do  you 
really  hate  your  Aunt  Fanny  so  much  that  you  want 
to — ^that  you  want  to " 

She  choked  and  sought  for  her  handkerchief;  sud 
denly  she  began  to  cry. 

"Oh,  see  here,"  George  said.     "I  don't  hate  you. 
Aunt  Fanny.     That's  silly.     I  don't " 

"You  do !    You  dot     You  want  to — you  want  to 

destroy  the  only  thing — that  I — that  I  ever " 

And,  unable  to  continue,  she  became  inaudible  in 
her  handkerchief. 

George  felt  remorseful,  and  his  own  troubles  were 
lightened:  all  at  once  it  became  clear  to  him  that  he 


had  been  worrying  about  nothing.  He  perceived 
that  his  Aunt  Amelia  was  indeed  an  old  cat,  and 
that  to  give  her  scandalous  meanderings  another 
thought  would  be  the  height  of  folly.  By  no  means 
insusceptible  to  such  pathos  as  that  now  exposed 
before  him,  he  did  not  lack  pity  for  Fanny,  whose 
almost  spoken  confession  was  lamentable:  and  he  was 
granted  the  vision  to  understand  that  his  mother 
also  pitied  Fanny  infinitely  more  than  he  did.  This 
seemed  to  explain  everything. 

He  patted  the  unhappy  lady  awkwardly  upon  her 
shoulder.  "There,  there!"  he  said.  "I  didn't 
mean  anything.  Of  course  the  only  thing  to  do 
about  Aimt  Amelia  is  to  pay  no  attention  to  her. 
It's  all  right,  Aimt  Fanny.  Don't  cry.  I  feel  a 
lot  better  now,  myself.  Come  on;  I'll  drive  back 
there  with  you.  It's  all  over,  and  nothing's  the 
matter.     Can't  you  cheer  up?" 

Fanny  cheered  up;  and  presently  the  customarily 
hostile  aunt  and  nephew  were  driving  out  Ambersor 
Boulevard  amiably  together  in  the  hot  sunshine. 


ALMOST*^  was  Lucy's  last  word  on  the  last 
^^J  night  of  George's  vacation — that  vital  even- 
ing which,  she  had  half  consented  to  agree 
upon  for  "settling  things"  between  them.  "Al- 
most engaged,"  she  meant.  And  George,  dis- 
contented with  the  "almost,"  but  contented  that 
she  seemed  glad  to  wear  a  sapphire  locket  with  a 
tiny  photograph  of  George  Amberson  Minafer  inside 
it,  found  himself  wonderful  in  a  new  world  at  the 
final  instant  of  their  parting.  For,  after  declining 
to  let  him  kiss  her  "good-bye,"  as  if  his  desire  for  such 
a  ceremony  were  the  most  preposterous  absurdity 
in  the  world,  she  had  leaned  suddenly  close  to  him 
and  left  upon  his  cheek  the  veriest  feather  from  a 
fairy's  wing. 

She  wrote  him  a  month  later: 

No.    It  must  keep  on  being  almost. 

Isn't  almost  pretty  pleasant?  You  know  well  enough 
that  I  care  for  you.  I  did  from  the  first  minute  I  saw  you»  and 
Fm  pretty  sure  you  knew  it — ^I*m  afraid  you  did.    Fm  aliraM 



you  always  knew  it.  Tm  not  conventional  and  cautious  about 
being  engaged,  as  you  say  I  am»  dear.  (I  always  read  over  the 
'* dears"  in  yimr  letters  a  time  or  two»  as  you  say  you  do  in  mine 
— only  I  read  all  of  your  letters  a  time  or  two!)  But  it's  such  a 
solemn  thing  it  scares  me.  It  means  a  good  deal  to  a  lot  of 
people  besides  you  and  me»  and  that  scares  me»  too.  You  write 
that  I  take  your  feeling  for  me  "too  lightly"  and  that  I  "take  the 
whole  affair  too  lightly."  Isn't  that  odd!  Because  to  myself 
I  seem  to  take  it  as  something  so  much  more  scdemn^han  you  do* 
I  shouldn't  be  a  bit  surprised  to  find  myself  an  old  lady»  some  day* 
still  thinking  of  you — ^while  you'd  be  away  and  awny  with  some^ 
body  else  perhaps,  and  me  forgotten  ages  ago!  "Lucy  Mor- 
gan," you'd  say,  when  you  saw  my  obituary.  "Lucy  Mor- 
gan? Let  me  see:  I  seem  to  remember  the  name.  Didn't 
I  know  some  Lucy  Morgan  or  other,  once  upon  a  time?" 
Then  you'd  shakie  your  big  white  head  and  stroke  your  long 
white  beard — ^you'd  have  such  a  distinguished  long  white  beard! 
and  you'd  say,  'No.  I  don't  seem  to  remember  any  Lucy  Mor- 
gan; I  wonder  what  ma^e  me  think  I  did?  '  And  poor  me!  I'd 
be  deep  in  the  ground,  wondering  if  you'd  heard  about  it  and 
what  you  were  saying!  Good-bye  for  to-day.  Don't  work 
too  hard — dear! 

George  immediately  seized  pen  and  paper,  plain- 
tively but  vigorously  requesting  Lucy  not  to  im- 
agine him  with  a  beard,  distinguished  or  otherwise, 
even  in  the  extremities  of  age.  Then,  after  inscrib- 
ing his  protest  in  the  matter  of  this  visioned  beard, 
he  concluded  his  missive  in  a  tone  mollified  to  ten- 
demes3>  and  proceeded  to  read  a  letter  from  his 
mother    which    had    reached    him    simultaneously 


with  Liicy's.    Isabel  wrote  from  Asheville,  wha« 
she  had  just  arrived  with  her  husband. 

I  think  your  father  looks  better  already,  darling,  though 
we've  been  here  only  a  few  hours.  It  may  be  we've  found  just 
the  place  to  build  him  up.  The  doctors  said  they  hoped  it 
would  prove  to  be,  and  if  it  is,  it  would  be  worth  the  long  struggle 
we  had  with  him  to  get  him  to  give  up  and  come.  Poor  dear 
man,  he  was  so  blue,  not  about  his  health  but  about  giving  up 
the  worries  down  at  his  office  and  forgetting  them  for  a  time — 
if  he  only  will  forget  them!  It  took  the  pressure  of  the  family 
and  all  his  best  friends,  to  get  him  to  come — ^but  father  and 
brother  George  and  Fanny  and  Eugene  Morgan  all  kept  at  him 
so  constantly  that  he  just  had  to  give  in.  I'm  afraid  that  in  my 
anxiety  to  get  him  to  do  what  the  doctors  wanted  him  to,  I 
wasn't  able  to  back  up  brother  George  as  I  should  in  his  difficulty 
with  Sydney  and  Amelia.  I'm  so  sorry!  George  is  more  upset 
than  I've  ever  seen  him — they've  got  what  they  wanted,  and 
they're  sailing  before  long,  I  hear,  to  live  in  Florence.  Father 
said  he  couldn't  stand  the  constant  persuading — ^I'm  afraid  the 
word  he  used  was  * 'nagging."  I  can't  understand  people  behav- 
ing like  that.  George  says  they  may  be  Ambersons,  but  they're 
vulgar!  I'm  afraid  I  almost  agree  with  him.  At  least,  I  think 
they  were  inconsiderate.  But  I  don't  see  why  I'm  unburdening 
myself  of  all  this  to  you,  poor  darling!  We'll  have  forgotten  all 
about  it  long  before  you  come  home  for  the  holidays,  and  it 
should  mean  little  or  nothing  to  you,  anyway.  Forget  that  I've 
been  so  foolish! 

Your  father  is  waiting  for  me  to  take  a  walk  with  him — that's 
a  splendid  sign,  because  he  hasn't  felt  he  could  walk  much,  at 
home,  lately.  I  mustn't  keep  him  waiting.  Be  careful  to  wear 
your  mackintosh  and  rubbers  in  rainy  weather,  and,  as  soon  as 
it  begins  to  get  colder,  your  ubter.    Wish  you  could  see  your 


father  now.  Looks  so  much  better!  We  pkm  to  stay  six  weeks 
if  the  place  agrees  with  him.  It  does  really  seem  to  already! 
He's  just  called  in  the  door  to  say  he's  waiting.  Don't  smoke 
too  much,  darling  boy. 

Devotedly,  your  mother 


But  she  did  not  keep  her  husband  there  for  the  six 
weeks  she  anticipated.  She  did  not  keep  him  any- 
where that  long.  Three  weeks  after  writing  this 
letter,  she  telegraphed  suddenly  to  George  that 
they  were  leaving  for  home  at  once;  and  four  days 
later,  when  he  and  a  friend  came  whistling  into  his 
study,  from  lunch  at  the  club,  he  found  another  tele- 
gram upon  his  desk. 

He  read  it  twice  before  he  comprehended  its 

Papa  left  us  at  ten  this  morning,  dearest. 


The  friend  saw  the  change  in  his  face.  "Not 
bad  news?" 

George  lifted  utterly  dumfounded  eyes  from  the 
yellow  paper. 

"My  father,"  he  said  weakly.  "She  says — she 
says  he's  dead.     I've  got  to  go  home." 


•  .  •  His  Unde  George  and  the  Major  met 
him  at  the  station  when  he  arrived — the  first  time 
the  Major  had  ever  come  to  meet  his  grandson. 
The  old  gentleman  sat  in  his  closed  carriage  (which 
still  needed  paint)  at  the  entrance  to  the  station,  but 
he  got  out  and  advanced  to  grasp  George*s  hand 
tremulously,  when  the  latter  appeared.  "Poor 
fellow!'*  he  said,  and  patted  him  repeatedly  upon 
the  shoulder.     "Poor  fellow!    Poor  Georgie!'* 

George  had  not  yet  come  to  a  full  realization  of  his 

loss:  so  far,  his  condition  was  merely  dazed;  and  as 

the  Major  continued  to  pat  him,  murmuring  "Poor 
fellow!'*  over  and  over,  George  was  seized  by  an 

almost  irresistible  impulse  to  tell  his  grandfather 
that  he  was  not  a  poodle.  But  he  said  "Thanks/' 
in  a  low  voice,  and  got  into  the  carriage,  his  two 
relatives  following  with  deferential  sympathy.  He, 
noticed  that  the  Major's  tremulousness  did  not  dis- 
appear, as  they  drove  up  the  street,  and  that  he 
seemed  much  feebler  than  during  the  summer- 
Principally,  however,  George  was  concerned  with 
his  own  emotion,  or  rather,  with  his  lack  of  emotion; 
and  the  anxious  sympathy  of  his  grandfather  and 
his  uncle  made  him  feel  hypocritical.  He  was  not 
grief -stricken;  but  he  felt  that  he  ought  to  be,  andf 


with  a  secret  shame,  concealed  his  callousness  be- 
neath an  affectation  of  solemnity. 

But  when  he  was  taken  iuto  the  room  where  lay 
what  was  left  of  Wilbur  ]Viinafer,  George  had  no 
longer  to  pretend;  his  grief  was  sufficient.  It 
needed  only  the  sight  of  that  forever  inert  semblance 
of  the  quiet  man  who  had  been  always  so  quiet  a  part 
of  his  son's  life — ^so  quiet  a  part  that  Geoi^  had 
seldom  been  consciously  aware  that  his  father  was 
indeed  a  part  of  his  life.  As  the  figure  lay  there, 
its  very  quietness  was  what  was  most  lifelike;  and 
suddenly  it  struck  George  hard.  And  in  that  unex* 
pected,  racking  grief  of  his  son,  Wilbur  Minafer 
became  more  vividly  George's  father  than  he  had 
^ver  been  in  life. 

When  George  left  the  room,  his  arm  was  about  his 
black-robed  mother,  his  shoulders  were  still  shaken 
with  sobs.  He  leaned  upon  his  mother;  she  gently 
comforted  him;  and  presently  he  recovered  his  com- 
posure and  became  self-conscious  enough  to  wonder 
if  he  had  not  been  making  an  unmanly  display  of 
himself.  ^^I'm  all  right  again,  mother,"  he  said 
QrWkwardly.  "Don't  worry  about  me:  you'd  better 
go  lie  down,  or  something;  you  look  pretty  pale." 

Isabel  did  look  pretty  pale,  but  not  ghastly  pale. 

M  I 


as  Fanny  did.  Fanny's  grief  was  overwhelming; 
she  stayed  in  her  room,  and  George  did  not  see  her 
until  the  next  day,  a  few  minutes  before  the  funeral, 
when  her  haggard  face  appalled  him.  But  by  this 
time  he  was  quite  himself  again,  and  during  the 
short  service  in  the  cemetery  his  thoughts  eveii 
wandered  so  far  as  to  permit  him  a  feeling  of  regret 
not  directly  connected  with  his  father.  Beyond 
the  open  flower-walled  grave  was  a  mound  where 
new  grass  grew;  and  here  lay  his  great-uncle,  old 
John  Minafer,  who  had  died  the  previous  autumn; 
and  beyond  this  were  the  graves  of  George's  grand- 
father and  grandmother  IVIinafer,  and  of  his  grand* 
father  Minafer's  second  wife,  and  her  three  sons, 
George's  half -uncles,  who  had  been  drowned  together 
in  a  canoe  accident  when  George  was  a  child- — ^Fanny 
was  the  last  of  the  family.  Next  beyond  was  the 
Amberson  family  lot,  where  lay  the  Major's  wife 
and  their  sons  Henry  and  Milton,  uncles  whom 
George  dimly  remembered;  and  beside  them  lay 
Isabel's  older  sister,  his  Aunt  Estelle,  who  had  died 
m  her  girlhood,  long  before  George  was  bom.  The 
Minafer  monument  was  a  granite  block,  with  the 
name  chiselled  upon  its  one  polished  side,  and  the 
Amberson  monument  was  a  white  marble  shaft. 


taller  than  any  other  in  that  neighbourhood.  But 
farther  on  there  was  a  newer  section  of  the  ceme- 
tery, an  addition  which  had  been  thrown  open  to 
occupancy  only  a  few  years  before,  after  dexterous 
modem  treatment  by  a  landscape  specialist.  There 
were  some  large  new  mausoleums  here,  and  shafts 
taller  than  the  Ambersons',  as  well  as  a  number  of 
monuments  of  some  sculptural  pretentiousness;  and 
altogether  the  new  section  appeared  to  be  a  more 
fashionable  and  important  quarter  than  that  older 
one  which  contained  the  Amberson  and  Minafer  lots. 
This  was  what  caused  George's  regret,  during  the 
moment  or  two  when  his  mind  strayed  from  his 
father  and  the  reading  of  the  service. 

.  .  .  On  the  train,  going  back  to  college,  ten 
da^fs  later,  this  regret  (though  it  was  as  much  an 
annoyance  as  a  regret)  recurred  to  his  mind,  and  a 
feeling  developed  within  Mm  that  the  new  quarter 
of  the  cemetery  was  in  bad  taste — not  architecturally 
or  sculpturally  perhaps,  but  in  presumption:  it 
seemed  to  flaunt  a  kind  of  parvenu  ignorance,  as  if 
it  were  actually  pleased  t©  be  unaware  that  all  the 
aristocratic  and  really  imiportant  families  were  buried 
Jn  the  old  section. 

.  I 


The  annoyance  gave  way  before  a  recollection  ol 
the  sweet  moumfulness  of  his  mother's  face,  as  she 
had  said  good-bye  to  him  at  the  station,  and  of  how 
lovely  she  looked  in  her  mowning.  He  thought  of 
Lucy,  whom  he  had  seen  only  twice,  and  he  could 
not  help  feeling  that  in  these  quiet  interviews  he  had 
appeared  to  her  a^  tinged  with  heroism— she  had 
shown,  rather  than  said,  how  brave  she  thought  him 
in  his  sorrow.  But  what  came  most  vividly  to 
George's  mind,  during  these  retrospections,  was 
the  despairing  face  of  his  Aunt  Fanny.  Again  and 
again  he  thought  of  it;  he  could  not  avoid  its  haunt- 
ing. And  for  days,  after  he  got  back  to  college, 
the  stricken  likeness  of  Fanny  would  appear  before 
him  unexpectedly,  and  without  a  cause  that  he  could 
trace  in  his  immediately  previous  thoughts.  Her 
grief  had  been  so  silent,  yet  it  had  so  amazed  him. 

George  felt  inore  and  more  compassion  for  this 
ancient  antagonist  of  his,  and  he  wrote  to  his  mother 
about  her: 

I'm  afraid  poor  Aunt  Fanny  might  think  now  father's  gone 
we  won't  want  her  to  live  with  us  any  longer  and  because  I 
always  teased  her  so  much  she  might  think  I'd  be  for  turning  her 
out.  I  don't  know  where  on  earth  she'd  go  or  what  she  could 
live  on  if  we  did  do  something  like  this,  and  of  course  we  never 


would  do  such  a  thing,  but  I'm  pretty  sure  she  had  something  of 
the  kind  on  her  mind.  She  didn't  say  anything,  but  the  way 
she  looked  is  what  makes  me  think  so.  Honestly,  to  me  she 
looked  just  scared  sick.  You  tell  her  there  isn't  akiy  danger 
in  the  world  of  my  treating  her  like  that.  Tell  her  everything 
is  to  go  on  just  as  it  always  has.    Tell  her  to  cheer  up! 


ISABEL  did  more  for  Panny  than  telling  her 
to  cheer  up.  Everything  that  Fanny  inher- 
ited from  her  father,  old  Aleck  Minafer,  had 
been  invested  in  Wilbur's  business;  and  Wilbur's 
business,  after  a  period  of  illness  corresponding  in 
dates  to  the  illness  of  Wilbm-'s  body,  had  died  just 
before  Wilbur  did.  George  Amberson  and  Fanny 
were  both  "wiped  out  to  a  miracle  of  precision,"  as 
Amberson  said.  They  "owned  not  a  penny  and 
owed  not  a  penny,"  he  continued,  explaining  his 
phrase.  "It's  like  the  moment  just  before  drown- 
ing: you're  not  under  water  and  you're  not  out  of  it» 
All  you  know  is  that'  you're  not  dead  yet." 

He  spoke  philosophically,  having  his  "prospects" 
from  his  father  to  fall  back  upon;  but  Fanny  had 
neither  "prospects"  nor  philosophy.  However,  a 
legal  survey  of  Wilbur's  estate  revealed  the  fact 
that  his  life  insurance  was  left  clear  of  the  wreck; 
and  Isabel,  with  the  cheerful  consent  of  her  son, 
promptly  turned  this  salvage  over  to  her  sister-in- 



law.  Invested,  it  would  yield  something  better 
than  nine  hundred  dollars  a  year,  and  thus  she  was 
assured  of  becoming  neither  a  pauper  nor  a  depen- 
dent, but  proved  to  be,  as  Amberson  said,  adding  his 
eflForts  to  the  cheering  up  of  Fanny,  "an  heiress, 
after  all,  in  spite  of  rolling  mills  and  the  devil.'* 
She  was  unable  to  smile,  and  he  continued  his 
humane  gayeties.  "See  what  a  wonderfully  desir- 
able income  nine  hundred  dollars  is,  Fanny :  a  bache* 
lor,  to  be  in  your  class,  must  have  exactly  forty- 
nine  thousand  one  hundred  a  year.  Then,  you  see, 
all  you  need  to  do,  in  order  to  have  fifty  thousand 
a  year,  is  to  be  a  little  encouraging  when  some 
bachelor  in  your  class  begins  to  show  by  his  haber- 
dashery what  he  wants  you  to  think  about  him!" 

She  looked  at  him  wanly,  murmured  a  desolate 
response — she  had  "sewing  to  do" — and  left  the 
room;  while  Amberson  shook  his  head  ruefully  at 
his  sister.  "IVe  often  thought  that  humoiu*  was 
not  my  forte,"  he  sighed.  "Lord!  She  doesn't 
'cheer  up'  much!" 

The  collegian  did  not  return  to  his  home  for  the 
holidays.  Instead,  Isabel  joined  him,  and  they 
went  South  for  the  two  weeks.     She  was  proud  ol 


her  stalwart,  good-looking  son  at  the  hotel  where  they 
stayed,  and  it  was  meat  and  drink  to  her  when  she 
saw  how  people  stared  at  him  in  the  lobby  and  on  the 
big  verandas — ^indeed,  her  vanity  in  him  was  so 
dominant  that  she  was  unaware  of  their  staring  at 
her  with  more  interest  and  an  admiration  friendlier 
than  George  evoked.  Happy  to  have  him  to  herself 
for  this  fortnight,  she  loved  to  walk  with  him,  lean- 
ing upon  his  arm,  to  read  with  him,  to  watch  the  sea 
with  him — ^perhaps  most  of  all  she  liked  to  enter  the 
big  dining  room  with  him. 

Yet  both  of  them  felt  constantly  the  difference 
between  this  Christmastime  and  other  Christmas- 
times  of  theirs — ^in  all,  it  was  a  sorrowful  holiday. 
But  when  Isabel  came  East  for  George's  commence- 
ment, in  June,  she  brought  Lucy  with  her — ^and 
things  began  to  seem  different,  especially  when 
George  Amberson  arrived  with  Lucy's  father  on 
Class  Day.  Eugene  had  been  in  New  York,  on  busi- 
ness; Amberson  easily  persuaded  him  to  this  outing; 
and  they  made  a  cheerful  party  of  it,  with  the  new 
graduate  of  course  the  hero  and  centre  of  it  all. 

His  uncle  was  a  fellow  alumnus.  "Yonder  was 
where  I  roomed  when  I  was  here,"  he  said,  pointing 
out  one  of  the  university  buildings  to  Eugene.     "I 


don't  know  whether  Greorge  would  let  my  admirers 
place  a  tablet  to  mark  the  spot,  or  not.  He  owns 
all  these  buildings  now>  you  know/' 

"Didn't  you,  when  you  were  here?  like  uncle, 
like  nephew." 

"Don't  tell  George  you  think  he's  like  me.  Just 
at  this  time  we  should  be  careful  of  the  young  gentle- 
man's feelings." 

"Yes,"  said  Eugene.  "If  we  weren't  he  mightn't 
let  us  exist  at  all." 

"I'm  sure  I  didn't  have  it  so  badly  at  his  age," 
Amberson  said  reflectively,  as  they  strolled  on 
through  the  commencement  crowd.  "For  one  thing, 
I  had  brothers  and  sisters,  and  my  mother  didn't 
just  sit  at  my  feet  as  George's  does;  and  I  wasn't  an 
only  grandchild,  either.  Father's  always  spoiled 
Georgie  a  lot  more  than  he  did  any  of  his  own 

Eugene  laughed.  "You  need  only  three  things 
to  explain  all  that's  good  and  bad  about  Georgie." 


"He's  Isabel's  only  child.  He's  an  Amberson. 
He's  a  boy." 

''Well,  Mister  Bones,  of  these  three  things  which 
are  the  good  ones  and  which  are  the  bad  ones?" 


"All  of  them,"  said  Eugene. 

It  happened  that  just  then  they  came  in  sight  of 
the  subject  of  their  discourse.  George  was  walking 
under  the  elms  with  Lucy,  swinging  a  stick  and  point- 
ing out  to  her  various  objects  and  localities  which 
had  attained  historical  value  during  the  last  four 
years.  The  two  older  men  marked  his  gestures, 
careless  and  graceful;  they  observed  his  attitude, 
unconsciously  noble,  his  easy  proprietorship  of  the 
ground  beneath  his  feet  and  round  about,  of  the 
branches  overhead,  of  the  old  buildings  beyond,  and 
of  Lucy. 

"I  don't  know,"  Eugene  said,  smiling  whimsically. 
"I  don't  know.  When  I  spoke  of  his  being  a  human 
being — I  don't  know.     Perhaps  it's  more  like  deity." 

"I  wonder  if  I  was  like  that!"  Amberson  groaned. 
"You  don't  suppose  every  Amberson  has  had  to  go 
through  it,  do  you.^^" 

"Don't  worry!  At  least  half  of  it  is  a  combina- 
tion  of  youth,  good  looks,  and  college;  and  even  the 
noblest  Ambersons  get  over  their  nobility  and  come 
to  be  people  in  time.  It  takes  more  than  time, 

"I  should  say  it  did  take  more  than  time!'*  ht^ 
friend  agreed,  shaking  a  rueful  head. 


Then  they  walked  over  to  join  the  loveliest 
Amberson,  whom  neither  time  nor  trouble  seemed  to 
have  touched.  She  stood  alone,  thoughtful  under 
the  great  trees,  chaperoning  George  and  Lucy  at  a 
distance;  but,  seeing  the  two  friends  approaching, 
she  came  to  meet  them. 

"It's  charming,  isn't  it!"  she  said,  moving  her 
black-gloved  hand  to  indicate  the  summery  dressed 
crowd  strolling  about  them,  or  clustering  in  groups,, 
each  with  its  own  hero.  "They  seem  so  eager  and 
so  confident,  all  these  boys — ^it's  touching.  But  of 
course  youth  doesn't  know  it's  touching." 


Amberson  coughed.  "No,  it  doesn't  seem  to 
take  itself  as  pathetic,  precisely!  Eugene  and  I 
were  just  speaking  of  something  like  that.  Do  you 
know  what  I  think  whenever  I  see  these  smooth,, 
triumphal  young  faces?  I  always  think:  ^0A> 
how  you're  going  to  catch  it'!'* 


"Oh,  yes,"  he  said.  "Life's  most  ingenious: 
it's  got  a  special  walloping  for  every  mother's  son 
of 'em!" 

"Maybe,"  said  Isabel,  troubled — "maybe  some 
of  the  mothers  can  take  the  walloping  for  them." 

"Not  one!"  her  brother  assured  her,  wHth  em- 


phasis.  ^^Not  any  more  than  she  can  take  on  her 
own  face  the  lines  that  are  bound  to  come  on  her 
son's.  I  suppose  you  know  that  all  these  yoimg 
faces  have  got  to  get  lines  on  'em?  " 

Maybe  they  won't,"  she  said,  smiling  wistfully. 
Maybe  times  will  change,  and  nobody  will  have  to 
wear  lines." 

^*  Times  have  changed  like  that  for  only  one  per^ 
son  that  I  know,"  Eugene  said.  And  as  Isiabel 
looked  inquiring,  he  laughed,  and  she  saw  that  sl^e 
was  the  "only  one  person."  His  implication  was 
justified,  moreover,  and  she  knew  it.  She  blushed 

"Which  is  it  puts  the  lines  on  the  faces .'^"  Amber- 
son  asked.  "Is  it  age  or  trouble?  Of  course  we 
can't  decide  that  wisdom  does  it — ^we  must  be  polite 
to  Isabel." 

"I'll  tell  you  what  puts  the  lines  there,"  Eugene 
said.  "Age  puts  some,  and  trouble  puts  some,  and 
work  puts  some,  but  the  deepest  are  carved  by  lack 
of  faith.  The  serenest  brow  is  the  one  that  believes 
the  most." 

"In  what?"  Isabel  asked  gently. 

"In  everything!" 

She  looked  at  him  inquiringly,  and  he  laughed  as 


he  had  a  moment  before,  when  she  looked  at  him 
that  way.     "Oh,  yes,  you  do!"  he  said. 

She  continued  to  look  at  him  inquiringly  a  mo- 
ment or  two  longer,  and  there  was  an  unconscious 
earnestness  im  her  glance,  something  trustful  as  well 
as  inquiring,  as  if  she  knew  that  whatever  he  meant 
it  was  all  right.  Then  her  eyes  drooped  thought- 
fully, and  she  seemed  to  address  some  inquiries  to 
herself.  She  looked  up  suddenly.  "WTiy,  I  be- 
Keve,"  she  said,  in  a  tone  of  surprise,  "I  believe  I 

And  at  that  both  men  laughed.  "Isabel!"  her 
brother  exclaimed.  "You're  a  foolish  person!  There 
are  times  when  you  look  exactly  fourteen  years  old!'* 

But  this  reminded  her  of  her  real  affair  in  that  part 
of  tlie  world.  "Good  gracious!"  she  said.  "Where 
have  the  children  got  to?  We  must  take  Lucy  pretty 
soon,  so  that  George  can  go  and  sit  with  the  Class. 
We  must  catch  up  with  them." 

She  took  her  brother's  arm,  and  the  three  moved 
on,  looking  about  them  in  the  crowd. 

"Curious,"  Amberson  remarked,  as  they  did  not 
immediately  discover  the  young  people  they  sought. 
"Even  in  such  a  concourse  one  would  think  we 
couldn't  fail  to  see  the  proprietor." 


"Several  hundred  proprietors  to-day,"  Eugene 

"No;  they're  only  proprietors  of  the  university/* 
said  George's  uncle.  "We're  looking  for  the  pro- 
prietor of  the  universe." 

"There  he  is!"  cried  Isabel  fondly,  not  minding 
this  satire  at  all.     "And  doesn't  he  look  it!" 

Her  escorts  were  still  laughing  at  her  when  they 
joined  the  proprietor  of  the  universe  and  his  pretty 
friend,  and  though  both  Amberson  and  Eugene 
declined  to  explain  the  cause  of  their  mirth,  even 
upon  Lucy's  urgent  request,  the  portents  of  the  day 
were  amiable,  and  the  five  made  a  happy  party — 
that  is  to  say,  four  of  them  made  a  happy  audience 
for  the  fifth,  and  the  mood  of  this  fifth  was  gracious 
and  cheerful. 

George  took  no  conspicuous  part  in  either  the 
academic  or  the  social  celebrations  of  his  class;  he 
seemed  to  regard  both  sets  of  exercises  with  a  toler- 
ant amusement,  his  own  "crowd"  "not  going  in 
much  for  either  of  those  sorts  of  things,"  as  he  ex-- 
plained  to  Lucy.  What  his  crowd  had  gone  in  for 
remained  ambiguous;  some  negligent  testimony  indi- 
cating that,  except  for  an  astonishing  reliability 
which  they  all  seemed  to  have  attained  in  matters 


relating  to  musical  comedy,  they  had  not  gone  in  for 
anything.  Certainly  the  question  one  of  them  put 
to  Lucy,  in  response  to  investigations  of  hers,  seemed 
to  point  that  way:  "Don't  you  think,"  he  said, 
"really,  don't  you  think  that  being  things  is  rather 
better  than  doing  things?" 

He  said  "rahthuh  bettuh"  for  "rather  better,"  and 
seemed  to  do  it  deliberately,  with  perfect  knowledge 
of  what  he  was  doing.  Later,  Lucy  mocked  him  to 
George,  and  George  refused  to  smile:  he  somewhat 
inclined  to  such  pronunciations,  himself.  This  in- 
clination was  one  of  the  things  that  he  had  acquired 
in  the  four  years. 

What  else  he  had  acquired,  it  might  have  puzzled 
him  to  state,  had  anybody  asked  him  and  required 
Si  direct  reply  within  a  reasonable  space  of  time. 
He  had  learned  how  to  pass  examinations  by  "cram- 
ming"; that  is,  in  three  or  four  days  and  nights  he 
could  get  into  his  head  enough  of  a  selected  frag- 
ment of  some  scientific  or  philosophical  or  literary 
or  linguistic  subject  to  reply  plausibly  to  six  ques- 
tions out  of  ten.  He  could  retain  the  information 
necessary  for  such  a  feat  just  long  enough  to  give  a 
successful  performance;  then  it  would  evaporate* 
utterly  from  his  brainy  and  leave  him  undisturbed/ 


George,  like  his  "crowd/'  not  only  preferred  "be 
ing  things"  to  "doing  things,"  but  had  contented 
himself  with  four  years  of  "being  things"  as  a  prepa- 
ration for  going  on  "being  things."  And  when 
Lucy  rather  shyly  pressed  him  for  his  friend's  prob- 
able definition  of  the  "things"  it  seemed  so  superior 
and  beautiful  to  be,  George  raised  his  eyebrows 
slightly,  meaning  that  she  should  have  understood 
without  explanation;  but  he  did  explam:  "Oh, 
family  and  all  that — ^being  a  gentleman,  I  suppose. 

Lucy  gav^  the  horizon  a  long  look,  but  offered  no 


A  UNT  FANNY  doesn't  look  much  better/* 
/%  George  said  to  his  mother,  a  few  minutes 
^  -^  after  their  arrival,  on  the  night  they  got 
home.  He  stood  with  a  towel  in  her  doorway,  con- 
eluding  some  sketchy  ablutions  before  going  down- 
stairs to  a  supper  which  Fanny  was  hastily  preparing 
for  them..  .Isabel  had  not  telegraphed;  Fanny  was 
taken  by  surprise  when  they  drove  up  in  a  station 
cab  at  eleven  o'clock;  and  George  instantly  de- 
manded "a  little  decent  food."  (Some  criticisms 
of  his  had  publicly  disturbed  the  composure  of  the 
dining-car  steward  four  hours  previously.)  "I 
never  saw  anybody  take  things  so  hard  as  she  seems 
to,"  he  observed,  his  voice  muffled  by  the  toweL 
"Doesn't  she  get  over  it  at  all?  I  thought  she'd 
feel  better  when  we  turned  over  the  insurance  to 
her — ^gave  it  to  her  absolutely,  without  any  strings  to 
it.     She  looks  about  a  thousand  years  old!" 

"She  looks  quite  girlish,  sometimes,  though,"  his 
mother  said. 


"Has  she  looked  that  way  much  since  father ** 

"Not  so  mixch,"  Isabel  said  thoughtfully.  "But 
she  will,  as  times  goes  on." 

"Time'Il  have  to  hUrry,  then,  it  seems  to  me,'* 
George  observed,  returning  to  his  own  room. 

When  they  went  down  to  the  dining  room,  he 
pronounced  acceptable  the  sahnon  salad,  cold  beef, 
cheese,  and  cake  which  Fanny  made  ready  for  them 
without  disturbing  the  servants.  The  journey  had 
fatigued  Isabel,  she  ate  nothing,  but  sat  to  observe 
with  tired  pleasure  the  manifestations  of  her  son's 
appetite,  meanwhile  giving  her  sister-in-law  a  brief 
summary  of  the  events  of  commencement.  But 
presently  she  kissed  them  both  good-night — ^taking 
<jare  to  kiss  George  lightly  upon  the  side  of  his  head, 
;so  as  not  to  disturb  his  eating — and  left  aiint  and 
nephew  alone  together. 

"It  never  was  becoming  to  her  to  look  pale," 
Fanny  said  absently,  a  few  moments  after  Isabel's 

^*Wha'd  you  say.  Aunt  Fanny?" 

"Nothing.  I  suppose  your  mother's  been  being 
pretty  gay?     Going  a  lot?" 

"How  could  she?"  George  asked  cheerfully. 
"In  mourning,  of  course  all  she  could  do  was  ju§t 


sit  around  and  look  on.  That's  all  Lucy  could  do 
either,  for  the  matter  of  that/' 

"I  suppose  so,"  his  aunt  assente'd.  "How  did 
Lucy  get  home?" 

George  regarded  her  with  astonishment.  "Why, 
on  the  train  with  the  rest  of  us,  of  course." 

"I  didn't  mean  that,"  Fanny  explained.  "I 
meant  from  the  station.  Did  you  drive  out  to  their 
house  with  her  before  you  came  here?  " 

"No.      She    drove    home    with   her    father,    of 


"Oh,  I  see.  So  Eugene  came  to  the  station  to 
meet  you." 

"*To  meet  us?'"  George  echoed,  renewing  his 
attack  upon  the  salmon  salad.     "How  could  he?" 

"I  don't  know  what  you  mean,"  Fanny  said 
drearily,  in  the  desolate  voice  that  had  become  her 
habit.  "I  haven't  seen  him  while  your  mother's 
been  away." 

"Naturally,"  said  George.  "He's  been  East  him- 

At  this  Fanny's  drooping  eyelids  opened  wide. 

"Did  you  see  him?" 

"Well,  naturally,  since  he  made  the  trip  home 
with  usl" 


"  He  did?  *'  she  said  sharply.  "  He*s  been  with  you 
all  the  time?" 

"No;  only 'on  the  train  and  the  last  three  days 
before  we  left.    Uncle  George  got  him  to  come." 

Fanny's  eyelids  drooped  again,  and  she  sat  silent 
until  George  pushed  back  his  chair  and  lit  a  ciga- 
rette, declaring  his  satisfaction  with  what  she  had 
provided.  "You're  a  fine  housekeeper,"  he  said 
benevolently.  "You  know  how  to  make  things  look 
dainty  as  well  as  taste  the  right  way.  I  don't  be- 
lieve you'd  stay  single  very  long  if  some  of  the 
bachelors   and   widowers   around   town    could   just 

once  see " 

She  did  not  hear  him.  "It's  a  Uttle  odd,"  she 

"What's  odd?" 

"Your  mother's  not  mentioning  that  Mr.  Morgan 
had  been  with  you." 

"Didn't  think  of  it,  I  suppose,"  said  George 
carelessly;  and,  his  benevolent  mood  increasing,  he 
conceived  the  idea  that  a  httle  harmless  rallying 
might  serve  to  elevate  his  aunt's  drooping  spirits. 
"I'll  tell  you  something,  in  confidence,"  he  said 

She  looked  up ,  startled.     "What? " 




•*Well,  it  struck  me  that  Mr.  Morgan  was  looking 
pretty  absent-minded,  most  of  the  time;  and  he  cer- 
tainly is  dressing  better  than  he  used  to.  Uncle 
George  told  me  he  heard  that  the  automobile  fac- 
tory had  been  doing  quite  well — won  a  race,  too !  I 
shouldn't  be  a  bit  surprised  if  all  the  yoimg  fellow 
had  been  waiting  for  wais  to  know  he  had  an  assured 
income  before  he  proposed." 
What  Voung  fellow'?" 

-  -  ♦  • 

This  young  fellow  Morgan,"  laughed  George. 
"Honestly,  Aunt  Fanny,  I  shouldn't  be  a  bit  sur- 
prised to  have  him  request  an  interview  with  me  any 
day,  and  declare  that  his  intentions  are  honourable, 
and  ask  my  permission  to  pay  his  addresses  to  you. 
What  had  I  better  tell  him?" 

Fanny  burst  into  tears. 

"Good  heavens!"  George  cried.  "I  was  only 
teasing.     I  didn't  mean " 

"Let  me  alone,"  she  said  lifelessly;  and,  continuing 
tx)  weep,  rose  and  began  to  clear  away  the  dishes. 

"Please,  Aunt  Fanny " 

"Just  let  me  alone." 

George  was  distressed.  "I  didn't  mean  anything. 
Aunt  Fanny !  I  didn't  know  you'd  got  so  sensitive 
as  all  that" 




"You'd  better  go  up  to  bed,"  she  said  desolately, 
going  on  with  her  work  and  her  weeping. 

"Anyhow,"  he  insisted,  "do  let  these  things  wait. 
Let  the  servants  'tend  to  the  table  in  the  morning." 
But,  why  not?" 

"Just  let  me  alone." 

"Oh,  Lord!"  George  groaned,  going  to  the  dow. 
There  he  turned.  "See  here.  Aunt  Fanny,  there's 
not  a  bit  of  use  your  bothering  about  those  dishes 
to-night.  What's  the  use  of  a  butler  and  three 
maids  if " 

"Just  let  me  alone." 

He  obeyed,  and  could  still  hear  a  pathetic  sniffing 
from  the  dining  room  as  he  went  up  the  stairs. 

"By  George!"  he  grunted,  as  he  reached  his  own 
room;  and  his  thought  was  that  living  with  a  person 
so  sensitive  to  kindly  raillery  might  prove  lugubri- 
ous. He  whistled,  long  and  low,  then  went  to  the 
window  and  looked  through  the  darkness  to  the 
great  silhouette  of  his  grandfather's  house.  Lights 
were  burning  over  there,  upstairs;  probably  his  newly 
arrived  uncle  was  engaged  in  talk  with  the  Major.     ' 

George's  glance  lowered,  resting  casually  upon  the 
indistinct  ground*  and  he  beheld  some  vague  shapes* 


unfamiliar  to  him.  Formless  heaps,  they  seemed; 
but,  without  much  curiosity,  he  supposed  that  sewer 
connections  or  water  pipes  might  be  out  of  order, 
making  necessary  some  excavations.  He  hoped  the 
work  would  not  take  long;  he  hated  to  see  that 
sweep  of  lawn  made  unsightly  by  trenches  and  lines 
of  dirt,  even  temporarily.  Not  greatly  disturbed, 
however,  he  pulled  down  the  shade,  yawned,  and 
began  to  undress,  leaving  further  investigation  for 
the  morning. 

But  in  the  morning  he  had  forgotten  all  about  it, 
and  raised  his  shade,  to  let  in  the  light,  without  even 
glancing  toward  the  ground.  Not  imtil  he  had 
finished  dressing  did  he  look  forth  from  his  window, 
and  then  his  glance  was  casual.  The  next  instant 
his  attitude  became  electric,  and  he  gave  utterance 
to  a  bellow  of  dismay.  He  ran  from  his  room, 
plunged  down  the  stairs,  out  of  the  front  door,  and, 
upon  a  nearer  view  of  the  destroyed  lawn,  began  to 
release  profanity  upon  the  breezeless  summer  air^ 
which  remained  imaflFected.  Between  his  mother's 
house  and  his  grandfather's,  excavations  for  the 
cellars  of  five  new  houses  were  in  process,  each  within 
a  few  feet  of  its  neighbour.  Foundations  of  brick 
were  being  laid;  everywhere  were  piles  of  brick 


and  stacked  lumber,  and  sand  heaps  and  mortar 

it  was  Smiday,  and  so  the  workmen  implicated  in 
these  defacmgs  were  denied  what  unquestionably 
they  would  have  considered  a  treat;  but  as  the  fa- 
natic orator  continued  the  monologue,  a  gentleman  in 
flannels  emerged  upward  from  one  of  the  excava- 
tionsy  and  regarded  him  contemplatively. 

"Obtaining  any  relief,  nephew?"  he  inquired  with 
some  interest.  "You  must  have  learned  quite  a 
number  of  those  expressions  in  childhood — ^it*s  so 
long  since  I'd  heard  them  I  fancied  they  were  obso- 

"Who  wouldn't  swear?"  George  demanded  hotly. 
"In  the  name  of  God,  what  does  grandfather  mean, 
doing  such  things?" 

My  private  opinion  is,"  said  Amberson  gravely^* 

he  desires  to  increase  his  mcome  by  building  these 
houses  to  rent." 

"Well,  in  the  name  of  God,  can't  he  increase  his 
income  any  other  way  but  this?" 

"In  the  name  of  God,  it  would  appear  he  couldn't.'* 

"It's  beastly!  It's  a  damn  degradation!  It's  a 

**I  don't  know  about  its  being  a  crime,"  said  his 


uncle,  stepping  over  some  planks  to  join  him.  **Ii 
might  be  a  mistake,  though.  Your  mother  said  not 
to  tell  you  until  we  got  home,  so  as  not  to  spoil 
commencement  for  you.  She  rather  feared  you'd  be 

"Upset!  Oh,  my  Lord,  I  should  think  I  would 
be  upset!  He's  in  his  second  childhood.  What 
did  you  .let  him  do  it  for,  in  the  name  of " 

"Make  it  in  the  name  of  heaven  this  time,  George; ' 
it's  Sunday.     Well,  I  thought,  myself,  it  was  a  mis- 

"I  should  say  so!" 

"Yes,"  said  Amberson.  "I  wanted  him  to  put 
up  an  apartment  building  instead  of  these  houses." 

"  An  apartment  building !    Here  ?  " 

"Yes;  that  was  my  idea." 

George  struck  his  hands  together  despairingly. 
"An  apartment  house!     Oh,  my  Lord!" 

"Don't  worry!  Your  grandfather  wouldn't  listen 
to  me,  but  he'll  wish  he  had,  some  day.  He  says 
that  people  aren't  going  to  live  in  miserable^  little^ 
flats  when  they  can  get  a  whole  house  with  some 
grass  in  front  and  plenty  of  backyard  behind.  He 
sticks  it  out  that  apartment  houses  will  never  do  in  a 
town  of  this  type,  and  when  I  pointed  out  to  him 


that  a  dozen  or  so  of  'em  already  are  doing,  he 
claimed  it  was  just  the  novelty,  and  that  they'd  all  be 
empty  as  soon  as  people  got  used  to  'em.  So  he's 
putting  up  these  houses." 

"Is  he  getting  miserly  in  his  old  age?" 

"Hardly!  Look  what  he  gave  Sydney  and 

"  I  don't  mean  he's  a  miser,  of  course,"  said  George. 
"Heaven  knows  he's  liberal  enough  with  mother 
and  me;  but  why  on  earth  didn't  he  sell  something 
or  other  rather  than  do  a  thing  like  this?" 

"As  a  matter  of  fact,"  Amberson  returned  coolly, 
"  I  believe  he  hxis  sold  something  or  other,  from  time 
to  time." 

"Well,  in  heaven's  name,"  George  cried,  "what 
did  he  do  it  for?" 

"  To  get  money,"  his  uncle  mildly  replied.  "  That's 
my  deduction." 

"I  suppose  you're  joking— or  trying  to!" 

"That's  the  best  way  to  look  at  it,"  Amberson 
said  amiably.  "Take  the  whole  thing  as  a  joke — 
and  in  the  meantime,  if  you  haven't  had  your  break- 
fast  " 

"I  haven't!'* 

"  Then  if  I  were  you  I'd  go  in  and  get  some.    And  " 


— he  paused,  becoming  serious —  "and  if  I  were 
you  I  wouldn't  say  anything  to  your  grandfather 
about  this." 

"I  don't  think  I  could  trust  myself  to  speak  to 
him  about  it,"  said  George.  "I  want  to  treat  him 
respectfully,  because  he  is  my  grandfather,  but  I 
don't  believe  I  could  if  I  talked  to  him  about  such  a 
thing  as  this!" 

And  with  a  gesture  of  despair,  plainly  signifying 
that  all  too  soon  after  leaving  bright  college  years 
behind  him  he  had  entered  into  the  full  tragedy  of 
life,  George  turned  bitterly  upon  his  heel  and  went 
into  the  house  for  his  breakfast. 

His  uncle,  with  his  head  whimsically  upon  one 
side,  gazed  after  him  not  altogether  unsympa- 
thetically,  then  descended  again  into  the  excavation 
whence  he  had  lately  emerged.  Being  a  philosopher 
he  was  not  surprised,  that  afternoon,  in  the  course 
of  a  drive  he  took  in  the  old  carriage  with  the  Major, 
when  George  was  encoimtered  upon  the  highway, 
flashing  along  in  his  runabout  with  Lucy  beside  him 
and  Pendennis  doing  better  than  three  minutes. 

"He  seems,  to  have  recovered,"  Amberson  re- 
marked:    ""  Looks  in  the  highest  good  spirits.'*' 

"I  b^  your  pa.^on," 


YOUNG  George  paid  his  respects  to  his  grand- 
father the  following  morning,  having  been 
occupied  with  various  affairs  and  engage- 
ments on  Sunday  until  after  the  Major's  bedtime; 
and  topics  concerned  with  building  or  excavations 
were  not  introduced  inix)  the  conversation,  which 
was  a  cheerful  one  until  George  Ughtly  mentioned 
some  new  plans  of  his.  He  was  a  skillful  driver,  as 
the  Major  knew,  and  he  spoke  of  his  desire  tow  ex- 
tend his  proficiency  in  this  art:  in  fact,  he  entertained 
the  ambition  to  drive  a  four-in-hand.  However,  as 
the  Major  said  nothing,  and  merely  sat  still,  look- 
ing surprised,  George  went  on  to  say  that  he  did  not 
propose  to  "go  in  for  coaching  just  at  the  start"; 
Jie  thought  it  would  be  better  to  begin  with  a  tan- 
dem. He  was  sure  Pendennis  could  be  trained  to 
work  as  a  leader;  and  all  that  one  needed  to  buy  at 
present,  he  said,  would  be  **  comparatively  inexpen- 
sive— a  new  trap,  and  the  harness,  of  course,  and  a 
good  bay  tO  *match  Pendeiuiis>'      He  did  not  care 

2M    , 


for  a  special  groom;  one  of  the  stablemen  would 

At  this  point  the  Major  decided  to  speak.  "You 
say  one  of  the  stablemen  would  do?"  he  inquired, 
his  widened  eyes  remaining  fixed  upon  his  grandson. 
"That*s  lucky,  because  one's  all  there  is,  just  at 
present,  George.  Old  fat  Tom  does  it  all.  Didn't 
you  notice,  when  you  took  Pendennis  out,  yester- 

"Oh,  that  will  be  all  right,  sir.  My  mother  can 
lend  me  her  man." 

"Can  she?"  The  old  gentleman  smiled  faintly. 
"I  wonder "    He  paused. 

"What,  sir?" 

"Whether  you  mightn't  care  to  go  to  law-school 
somewhere  perhaps.  I'd  be  glad  to  set  aside  a  sum 
that  would  see  you  through." 

This  senile  divergence  from  the  topic  in  hand  sur- 
prised George  painfully.  "I  have  no  interest  what- 
ever in  the  law,"  he  said.  "I  don't  care  for  it,  and 
the  idea  of  being  a  professional  man  has  never  ap- 
pealed to  me.  None  of  the  family  has  ever  gone  in 
for  that  sort  of  thing,  to  my  knowledge,  and  I  don't 
care  to  be  the  first.  I  was  speaking  of  driving  a 
tdndem " 


"I  know  you  were,"  the  Major  said  quietly. 

George  locked  hurt.     "I  beg  your  pardon.    Of 

course  if  the  idea  doesn't  appeal  to  you "    And 

he  rose  to  go. 

The  Major  ran  a  tremulous  hand  through  his 
hair,  sighing  deeply.  "I — I  don't  like  to  refuse  you 
anything,  Georgie,"  he  said.  "I  don't  know  that 
I  often  have  refused  you  whatever  you  wanted — 
in  reason " 

"YouVe  always  been  more  than  generous,  sir," 
George  interrupted  quickly.     "And  if  the  idea  of  a 

tandem  doesn't  appeal  to  you,  why — of  course " 

And  he  waved  his  hand,  heroically  dismissing  the 

The  Major's  distress  became  obvious.  "Georgie, 
I'd  like  to,  but — ^but  I've  an  idea  tandems  are  dan- 
gerous to  drive,  and  your  mother  might  be  anxious. 
She " 

"No,  sir;  I  think  not.  She  felt  it  would  be  rather 
a  good  thing — ^help  to  keep  me  out  in  the  open  air. 
But  if  perhaps  your  finances " 

"Oh,  it  isn't  that  so  much,"  the  old  gentleman  said 
hurriedly.  "I  wasn't  thinking  of  that  altogether." 
He  laughed  uncomfortably.  "I  guess  we  could  stfU 
afford  a  new  horse  or  two,  if  need  be ** 


"I  thought  you  said " 

The  Major  waved  his  hand  airily.  "Oh,  a  few 
retrenchments  where  things  were  useless:  nothing 
gained  by  a  raft  of  idle  darkies  in  the  stable — ^nor 
by  a  lot  of  extra  land  that  might  as  well  be  put  to 
work  for  us  in  rentals.  And  if  you  want  this  thing 
so  very  much " 

"It's  not  important  enough  to  bother  about, 
really,  of  course." 

"Well,  let's  wait  till  autumn  then,"  said  the  Major 
in  a  tone  of  relief.  "  We'll  see  about  it  in  the  autumn, 
if  you're  still  in  the  mind  for  it  then.  That  will  be 
a  great  deal  better.  You  remind  me  of  it,  along  in 
September  —  or  October.  We'll  see  what  can  be 
done."  He  rubbed  his  hands  cheerfully.  "We'll 
see  what  can  be  done  about  it  then,  Georgie.    We'll 

And  George,  in  reporting  this  conversation  to  his 
mother,  was  ruefully  humorous.  "In  fact,  the  old 
boy  cheered  up  so  much,"  he  told  her,  "you'd  have 
thought  he'd  got  a  real  load  off  his  mind.  He 
seemed  to  think  he'd  fixed  me  up  perfectly,  and  that 
I  was  just  as  good  as  driving  a  tandem  around  his 
library  right  that  minute !  Of  course  I  know  he's 
anything  but  miserly;  still  I  can't  help  thinking  he' 


must  be  salting  a  lot  of  money  away.  I  know 
prices  are  higher  than  they  used  to  be,  but  he  doesn't 
spend  within  thousands  of  what  he  used  to,  and  toe 
certainly  can't  be  spending  more  thaii  we  always  have 
spent.  Where  does  it  all  go  to?  Unde  George  told 
me  grandfather  had  sold  some  pieces  of  proj)erty, 
and  it  looks  a  little  queer.  If  he's  really  'property 
poor,'  of  course  we  ought  to  be  more  saving  than  we 
are,  and  help  him  out.  /  don't  mind  giving  up  a 
tandem  if  it  seems  a  little  too  ejqpensive  just  now. 
I'm  perfectly  willing  to  live  quietly  till  he  gets  his 
bank  balance  where  he  wants  it.  But  I  have  a  faint 
suspicion,  not  that  he's  getting  miserly — not  that  at 
all — but  that  old  age  has  begun  to  make  him  timid 
about  money.  There's  no  doubt  about  it,  he's  get- 
ting a  little  queer:  he  can't  keep  his  mind  on  a  sub- 
ject long.  Right  in  the  middle  of  talking  about  one 
thing  he'll  wander  off  to  something  else;  and  I 
shouldn't  be  surprised  if  he  turned  out  to  be  a  lot 
better  off  than  any  of  us  guess.  It's  entirely  pos- 
sible that  whatever  he's  sold  just  went  into  govern- 
ment bonds,  or  even  his  safety  deposit  box.  There 
was  a  friend  of  mine  in  college  had  an  old  uncle  like 
that:  made  the  whole  family  think  he  was  poor  as 
dirt — and  then  left  seven  millions.    People  get  ter* 


ribly  queer  as  they  get  old,  sometimes,  and  grand-^ 
father  certainly  doesn't  act  the  way  he  used  to.  He 
seems  to  be  a  totally  different  man.  For  instance,  he 
said  he  thought  tandem  driving  might  be  danger- 

ous  " 

"Did  he?"  Isabel  asked  quickly.  "Then  I'm 
glad  he  doesn't  want  you  to  have  one.  I  didn't 
dream " 

"But  it's  not.     There  isn't  the  slightest " 

Isabel  had  a  bright  idea.  "Georgie!  Instead  of 
a  tandem  wouldn't  it  interest  you  to  get  one  of 
Eugene's  automobiles?" 

"I  don't  think  so.  They're  fast  enough,  of  course. 
In  fact,  running  one  of  those  things  is  getting  to  be 
quite  on  the  cards  for  sport,  and  people  go  all  over 
the  country  in  'em.  But  they're  dirty  tilings,  and 
they  keep  getting  out  of  order,  so  that  you're  always 
lying  down  on  your  back  in  the  mud,  and " 

"Oh,  no,"  she  interrupted  eagerly.  "Haven't 
you  noticed?  You  don't  see  nearly  so  many  people 
doing  that  nowadays  as  you  did  two  or  three  years 
ago,  and,  when  you  do,  Eugene  says  it's  apt  to  be 
one  of  the  older  patterns.  The  way  they  make  them 
now,  you  can  get  at  most  of  the  machinery  from  the 
top.    I  do  think  you'd  be  interested,  dear." 


George  remained  indifferent.  "Possibly — but  I 
hardly  think  so.  I  know  a  lot  of  good  people  are 
really  taking  them  up,  but  still " 

'"But  stiir  what.^"  she  said  as  he  paused. 

"But  still — well,  I  suppose  I'm  a  little  old- 
fashioned  and  fastidious,  but  I'm  afraid  being  a  sort 
of  engine  driver  never  will  appeal  to  me,  mother. 
It's  exciting,  and  I'd  like  that  part  of  it,  but  still  it 
doesn't  seem  to  me  precisely  the  thing  a  gentleman 
ought  to  do.  Too  much  overalls  and  monkey- 
wrenches  and  grease!" 

"But  Eugene  says  people  are  hiring  mechanics 
to  do  all  that  sort  of  thing  for  them.  They're 
beginning  tc  have  them  just  the  way  they  have 
coachmen;  and  he  says  it's  developing  into  quite  a 

"I  know  that,  mother,  of  course;  but  I've  seen 
some  of  these  mechanics,  and  they're  ^ot  very  sat- 
isfactory. For  one  thing,  most  of  them  only  pre- 
tend to  understand  the  machinery  and  they  let 
people  break  down  a  hundred  miles  from  nowhere, 
so  that  about  all  these  fellows  are  good  f o?*  is  to  hunt 
up  a  farmer  and  hire  a  horse  to  pull  the  automobile. 
And  friends  of-  mine  at  college  that've  had  a  good 
deal  of  experience  tell  me  the  mechanics  who  do 


understand  the  engines  have  no  training  at  all  as 
servants.  They're  awful!  They  say  anything  they 
like,  and  usually  speak  to  members  of  the  family 
as  *Say!'  No,  I  believe  I'd  rather  wait  for  Septem' 
ber  and  a  tandem,  mother." 

Nevertheless,  George  sometimes  consented  to  sit 
in  an  automobile,  while  waiting  for  September,  and 
he  frequently  went  driving  in  one  of  Eugene's  cars 
with  Lucy  and  her  father.  He  even  allowed  him- 
self to  be  escorted  with  his  mother  and  Fanny 
through  the  growing  factory,  which  was  now,  as  the 
foreman  of  the  paint  shop  informed  the  visitors, 
''turning  out  a  car  and  a  quarter  a  day."  George 
had  seldom  been  more  excessively  bored,  but  his 
mother  showed  a  lively  interest  in  everything,  wish- 
ing to  have  all  the  machinery  explained  to  her. 
It  was  Lucy  who  did  most  of  the  explaining,  while 
her  father  looked  on  and  laughed  at  the  mistakes 
she  made,  and  Fanny  remained  in  the  backgroimd 
with  George,  exhibiting  a  bleakness  that  over- 
matched his  boredom. 

From  the  factory  Eugene  took  them  to  lunch  at 
a  new  restaurant,  just  opened  in  the  town,  a  place 
which  surprised  Isabel  with  its  metropolitan  air, 
and,  though  George  made  fun  of  it  to  her,  in  a  whis- 


per,  she  offered  everything  the  tribute  of  pleased 
exclamations;  and  her  gayety  helped  Eugene's  to 
make  the  little  occasion  almost  a  festive  one. 

George's  ennui  disappeared  in  spite  of  himself, 
and  he  laughed  to  see  his  mother  in  such  spirits. 
"I  didn't  know  mineral  waters  could  go  to  a  person's 
head,"  he  said.  "Or  perhaps  it's  this  place.  It 
might  pay  to  have  a  new  restaurant  opened  some^ 
where  in  town  every  time  you  get  the  blues." 

Fanny  turned  to  him  with  a  wan  smile.  "Oh, 
she  doesn't  *get  the  blues,'  George!"  Then  she 
added,  as  if  fearing  her  remark  might  be  thought 
unpleasantly  significant,  "I  never  knew  a  person  of 
a  more  even  disposition.  I  wish  I  could  be  like 
that!"  And  though  the  tone  of  this  afterthought 
was  not  so  enthusiastic  as  she  tried  to  make  it,  she 
succeeded  in  producing  a  fairly  amiable  effect. 

"No,"  Isabel  said,  reverting  to  George's  remark, 
and  overlooking  Fanny's.  "What  makes  me  laugh 
so  much  at  nothing  is  Eugene's  factory.  Wouldn't 
anybody  be  deUghted  to  see  an  old  friend  take  an 
idea  out  of  the  air  like  that — an  idea  that  most 
people  laughed  at  him  for — wouldn't  any  old  friend 
of  his  be  happy  to  see  how  he'd  made  his  idea  into 
such  a  splendid,  humming  thing  as  that  factory — sXS 


shiny  steel,  clicking  and  buzzing  away,  and  with  all 
those  workmen,  such  muscled  looking  men  and  yet 
so  intelligent  looking?" 

"Hear!  Hear!"  George  applauded.  "We  seem 
to  have  a  lady  orator  among  us.  I  hope  the  waiters 
won't  mind." 

Isabel  laughed,  not  discouraged.  "It's  beautiful 
to  see  such  a  thing,"  she  said.  "It  makes  us  all 
happy,  dear  old  Eugene!" 

And  with  a  brave  gesture  she  stretched  out  her 
hand  to  him  across  the  small  table.  He  took  it 
quickly,  giving  her  a  look  in  which  his  laughter  tried 
to  remain,  but  vanished  before  a  gratitude  threaten- 
ing to  become  emotional  in  spite  of  him.  Isabel, 
however,  turned  instantly  to  Fanny.  "Give  him 
your  hand,  Fanny,"  she  said  gayly;  and,  as  Fanny 
mechanically  obeyed,  "There!"  Isabel  cried.  "If 
brother  George  were  here,  Eugene  would  have  his 
three  oldest  and  best  friends  congratulating  him  aU 
at  once.  We  know  what  brother  George  thinks^ 
about  it,  though.     It's  just  beautiful,  Eugene!" 

Probably  if  her  brother  George  had  been  with 
them  at  the  little  table,  he  would  have  made  known 
what  he  thought  about  herself,  for  it  must  inevitably 
have  struck  him  that  she  was  in  the  midst  of  one  of 


those  "times"  when  she  looked  "exactly  fourteen 
years  old."  Lucy  served  as  a  proxy  for  Amberson, 
perhaps,  when  she  leaned  toward  George  and  whis- 
pered:    "Did  you  ever  see  anything  so  lovely?" 

"As  what?"  George  inquired,  not  because  he 
misunderstood,  but  because  he  wished  to  prolong 
the  pleasant  neighbourliness  of  whispering. 

"As  your  mother!  Think  of  her  doing  that! 
She's  a  darling!  And  papa" —  here  she  imper- 
fectly repressed  a  tendency  to  laugh — "papa  looks 
as  if  he  were  either  going  to  explode  or  utter 
loud  sobs!" 

Eug^ie  commanded  his  features,  however,  and 
they  resumed  their  customary  apprehensiveness. 
"I  used  to  write  verse,"  he  said — "if  you  remem- 
ber  " 

"Yes,"  Isabel  interrupted  gently.  "I  remem- 

"I  don't  recall  that  I've  written  any  for  twenty 
years  or  so,"  he  continued.  "But  I'm  almost  think- 
ing I  could  do  it  again,  to  thank  you  for  making  a 
factory  visit  into  such  a  kind  celebration." 

"Gracious!"  Lucy  whispered,  giggling.  "Aren't 
they  sentimental!" 

People  that  age  always  are,"  George  returned. 


*'They  get  i^entimental  over  anything  at  all.  Fac- 
tories or  restaurants,  it  doesn't  matter  what!" 

And  both  of  them  were  seized  with  fits  of  laughter 
which  they  managed  to  cover  under  the  general 
movement  of   departure,    as   Isabel   had   risen   to 


Outside,  upon  the  crowded  street,  George  helped 

Lucy  into  his  runabout,  and  drove  oflF,  waving  tri- 
umphantly, and  laughing  at  Eugene  who  was 
struggUng  with  the  engine  of  his  car,  in  the  tonneau 
of  which  Isabel  and  Fanny  had  established  them- 
selves. 'Looks  like  a  hand-organ  man  grinding 
away  Hot  pennies,"  said  George,  as  the  runabout 
turned  the  comer  and  into  National  Avenue.  "I'll 
still  take  a  horse,  any  day." 

He  was  not  so  cocksure,  half  an  hour  later,  on  an 
open  road,  when  a  siren  whistle  wailed  behind  him, 
and  before  the  soimd  had  died  away,  Eugene's  car, 
coming  from  behind  with  what  seemed  fairly  like  one 
long  leap,  went  by  the  runabout  and  dwindled  al- 
most instantaneously  in  perspective,  with  a  lace 
handkerchief  in  a  black-gloved  hand  fluttering  sweet 
derision  as  it  was  swept  onward  into  minuteness — a 
mere  white  speck — and  then  out  of  sight. 

George  was  undoubtedly  impressed.    "  Your  father 


does  know  how  to  drive  some,"  ilie  dashing 
exhibition  forced  him  to  admit.  "Of  course  Pen- 
dennis  isn't  as  yomig  as  he  was,  and  I  don't  care  to 
push  him  too  hard.  I  wouldn't  mind  handUng 
one  of  those  machines  on  the  road  like  that,  myself, 
if  that  was  all  there  was  to  it — ^no  cranking  to  do, 
or  fooling  with  the  engine.  Well,  I  enjoyed  part 
of  that  limch  quite  a  lot,  Lucy." 

The.  salad.?" 

No.     Your  whispering  to  me." 


George  made  no  response,  but  checked  Pendennis 
to  a  walk.  Whereupon  Lucy  protested  quickly  i 
"Oh,  don't!" 

Why?     Do  you  want  him  to  trot  his  legs  oflF.?'* 

No,  but- 





«XT_       1 X  9* 

"^No,  but'— what.?" 

She  spoke  with  apparent  gravity:  "I  know  when 
you  make  him  walk  it's  so  you  can  give  all  your 
attention  to — to  proposing  to  me  again!" 

And  as  she  turned  a  face  of  exaggerated  colour  to 
him,  "  By  the  Lord,  but  you're  a  little  witch ! "  George 

**  George,  do  let  Pendennis  trot  again ! " 

"I  won't!" 


She  clucked  to  the  horse.  "Gret  up,  PendennisI 
Trot!    Gro  on!    Commence!" 

Pendennis  paid  no  attention;  she  meant  nothing 
to  him,  and  George  laughed  at  her  fondly.  "You 
are  the  prettiest  thing  in  this  world,  Lucy!*'  he 
exclaimed.  "When  I  see  you  in  winter,  in  furs, 
with  your  cheeks  red,  I  think  you're  prettiest  then, 
but  when  I  see  you  in  summer,  in  a  straw  hat  and  a 
shirtwaist  and  a  duck  skirt  and  white  gloves  and  ^ 
those  little  silver  buckled  slippers,  and  your  rose- 
coloured  parasol,  and  your  cheeks  not  red  but  with 
a  kind  of  pinky  glow  about  them,  then  I  see  I  must 
have  been  wrong  about  the  winter!  When  are 
you  going  to  drop  the  *almost'  and  say  we're  really 

"Oh,  not  for  years!  So  there's  the  answer,  and 
fet's  trot  again." 

But  George  was  persistent;  moreover,  he  had  be- 
come serious  during  the  last  minute  or  two.  "I 
want  to  know,"  he  said.     "I  really  mean  it." 

"Let's  don't  be  serious,  George,"  she  begged  him 
hopefully.     "Let's  talk  of  something  pleasant." 

He  was  a  little  oflFended.  "Then  it  isn't  pleasant 
for  you  to  know  that  I  want  to  marry  you?" 

At  this  she  became  as  ^^rious  as  he  could  have 


asked;  she  looked  down,  and  her  lip  quivered  like 
that  of  a  child  about  to  cry.  Suddenly  she  put  her 
hand  upon  one  of  his  for  just  an  instant,  and  then 
withdrew  it. 

"Lucy!"  he  said  huskily.  "Dear,  what's  the 
matter.^  You  look  as  if  you  were  going  to  cry. 
You  always  do  that,"  he  went  on  plaintively,  "when- 
ever I  can  get  you  to  talk  about  marrying  me." 

"I  know  it,"  she  murmured. 

"Well,  why  do  you.?" 

Her  eyelids  flickered,  and  then  she  looked  up  a1 
him  with  a  sad  gravity,  tears  seeming  just  at  the 
poise.  "One  reason's  because  I  have  a  feeling  that 
it's  never  going  to  be." 


"It's  just  a  feeling." 

"You  haven't  any  reason  or '* 

"It's  just  a  feeling." 

"Well,  if  that's  all,"  George  said,  reassured,  and 
laughing  confidently,  "I  guess  I  won't  be  very  much 
troubled!".  But  at  once  he  became  serious  again, 
adopting  the  tone  of  argument.  "Lucy,  how  is 
anything  ever  jgoing  to  get  a  chance  to  come  of  it,  so 
long  as  you  keep  sticking  to  ^almost'?  Doesn't  it 
strike  you  as  unreasonable  to  have   a  ^feeling'  that 


we'll  never  be  married,  when  what  prmeipally 
stands  between  us  is  the  fact  that  you  won't  be 
really  engaged  to  me?  That  does  seem  pretty 
absurd!  Don't  you  care  enough  about  me  to 
marry  me?" 

She  looked  down  again,  pathetically  troubled. 

"Won't  you  always  care  that  much  about  me?" 

"I'm — yes — I'm  afraid  so,  George.  I  never  do 
change  much  about  anything." 

^Well,  then,  why  in  the  world  won't  you  drop  the 



Her  distress  increased.     "Everything  is — every 
thing — -" 

"What  about  'everything'?" 

"Everything  is  so — so  unsettled." 

And  at  that  he  uttered  an  exclamation  of  im- 
patience. "If  you  aren't  the  queerest  girl!  What 
is  *imsettled'?** 

"W^ell,  for  one  thing,"  she  said,  able  to  smile  at 
his  vehemence,  "you  haven't  settled  on  anything  to 
*io.  At  least,  if  you  have  you've  never  spoken  of 

As  she  spoke,  she  gave  him  the  quickest  possible 
side  glance  of  hopeful  scrutiny;  then  looked  away. 




not  happily.  Surprise  and  displeasure  were  inten- 
tionally visible  upon  the  countenance  of  her  com* 
panion;  and  he  permitted  a  significant  period  of 
silence  to  elapse  before  making  any  response. 
**Lucy/*  he  said,  finally,  with  cold  dignity,  "I 
should  like  to  ask  you  a  few  questions." 

The  first  is:  Haven't  you  perfectly  well  under- 
stood that  I  don't  mean  to  go  into  business  or  adopt 
a  profession?" 

"I  wasn't  quite  sure,"  she  said  gently.  "I  really 
didn't  know — quite." 

"Then  of  course  it's  time  I  did  tell  you.  I  never 
have  been  able  to  see  any  occasion  for  a  man's  going 
into  trade,  or  being  a  lawyer,  or  any  of  those  things 
if  his  position  and  family  were  such  that  he  didn't 
need  to.  You  know,  yourself,  there  are  a  lot  of 
people  in  the  East — in  the  South,  too,  for .  that 
matter — that  don't  think  we've  got  any  particular 
family  or  position  or  culture  in  this  part  of  the  coun- 
try. I've  met  plenty  of  that  kind  of  provincial 
snobs  myself,  and  they're  pretty  galling.  There 
were  one  or  two  men  in  my  crowd  at  college,  their 
families  had  lived  on  their  income  for  three  genera- 
tions, and  they  never  dreamed  there  was  anybody 


in  their  class  out  here.  I  had  to  show  them  a  thing 
or  two,  right  at  the  start,  and  I  guess  they  won't  for- 
get it!  Well,  I  think  it's  time  all  their  sort  found 
out  that  three  generations  can  mean  just  as  much  out 
here  as  anywhere  else.  That's  the  way  I  feel  about 
it,  and  let  me  tell  you  I  feel  it  pretty  deeply!" 

"But  what  are  you  going  to  do,  George?"  she 

George's  earnestness  surpassed  hers;  he  had  be- 
come flushed  and  his  breathing  was  emotional.  As 
he  confessed,  with  simple  genuineness,  he  did  feel 
what  he  was  saying  "pretty  deeply";  and  in  truth 
his  state  approached  the  tremulous.  "I  expect  to 
live  an  honourable  life,"  he  said.  "I  expect  to  con- 
tribute my  share  to  charities,  and  to  take  part  in — 
in  movements." 

"What  kind?" 

"Whatever  appeals  to  me,"  he  said. 

Lucy  looked  at  him  with  grieved  wonder.  "But 
you  really  don't  mean  to  have  any  regular  busi- 
ness or  profession  at  all?'* 

"I  certainly  do  not!"  George  returned  promptly 
and  emphatically. 

**I  was  afraid  so,"  she  said  in  a  low  voice. 

George  continued  to  breathe  deeply  throughout 


another  protracted  interval  of  silence.  Then  he 
said,  "I  should  like  to  revert  to  the  questions  I  was 
asking  you,  if  you  don't  mind." 

"No,  George.     I  think  we'd  better ." 

"Your  father  is  a  business  man " 

"He's  a  mechanical  genius,"  Lucy  interrupted 
quickly.  "Of  course  he's  both.  And  he  was  a 
lawyer  once — ^he's  done  all  sorts  of  things." 

"Very  well.  I  merely  wished  to  ask  if  it's  his 
influence  that  makes  you  think  I  ought  to  *do' 

Lucy  frowned  slightly.  "Why,  I  suppose  almost 
everything"  I  think  or  say  must  be  owing  to  his 
influence  in  one  way  or  another.  We  haven't  had 
anybody  but  each  other  for  so  many  years,  and  we 

always  think  about  alike,  so  of  course " 

"I    see!"     And    George's    brow    darkened    with 

resentment.     "So  that's  it,  is  it?     It's  your  father's 

idea  that  I  ought  to  go  into  business  and  that  you 

oughtn't  to  be  engaged  to  me  until  I  do." 

Lucy   gave    a    start,   her  denial    was   so    quick.. 

"No!     I've  never  once  spoken   to  him  about  it. 


George  looked  at  her  keenly,  and  he  jumped  to 

^  conclusion  not  far  from   the  truth.     "But  you 


know  without  talking  to  him  that  it's  the  way  he 
does  feel  about  it?    I  see." 

She  nodded  gravely.     "Yes." 

George's  brow  grew  darker  still.  "Do  you 
think  I'd  be  much  of  a  man,"  he  said,  slowly,  "if 
I  let  any  other  man  dictate  to  me  my  own  way  of 

"George!    Who's  ^dictating'  your " 

"It  seems  to  me  it  amounts  to  that!"  he  returned. 

"Oh,  no!  I  only  know  how  papa  thinks  about 
things.  He's  never,  never  spoken  imkindly,  or 
*dictatingly'  of  you."  She  lifted  her  hand  in  protest, 
and  her  face  was  so  touching  in  its  distress  that  for 
the  moment  George  forgot  his  anger.  He  seized 
that  small,  trolled  hand. 

"Lucy,"  he  said  huskily.  "Don't  you  know  that 
I  love  you?" 

"Yes— I  do." 

"Don't  you  love  me?" 

,"Yes— I  do." 

"Then  what  does  it  matter  what  your  father  thinks 
about  my  doing  something  or  not  doing  anything? 
He  has  his  way,  and  I  have  mine.  I  don't  believe  in 
the  whole  world  scrubbing  dishes  and  selling  potatoes 
and  trying  law  cases.     Why,  look  at  your  father's 


best  friend,  my  Uncle  George  Amberson — ^he's  never 
done  anything  in  his  life,  and " 

"Oh,  yes,  he  has,"  she  interrupted.  "He  was  in 

"Well,  I'm  glad  he's  out,"  George  said.  "PoU- 
tics  is  a  dirty  business  for  a  gentleman,  and  Uncle 
George  would  tell  you  that  himself.  Lucy,  let's  not 
talk  any  more  about  it.  Let  me  tell  mother 
when  I  get  home  that  we're  engaged.  Won't  you, 

She  shook  her  head. 

"Is  it  because " 

For  a  fleeting  instant  she  touched  to  her  cheek  the 
hand  that  held  hers.  "No,"  she  said,  said  gave  him 
a  sudden  little  look  of  renewed  gayety.  "Let's  let 
it  stay  ^almost'." 

"Because  your  father " 

"Oh,  because  it's  better!" 

George's  voice  shook.     "Isn't  it  your  father?" 

"It's  his  ideals  I'm  thinking  of — ^yes." 

George  dropped  her  hand  abruptly  and  anger 
narrowed  his  eyes.  "I  know  what  you  mean,"  he 
said.  "  I  dare  say  I  don't  care  for  your  father's  ideals 
any  more  than  he  does  for  mine !" 

He  tightened  the  reins,  Pendennis  quickening  eag- 


erly  to  the  trot;  and  when  George  jumped  out  of 
the  runabout  before  Lucy's  gate,  and  assisted  her  to 
descend,  the  silence  in  which  they  parted  was  the 
same  that  had  begun  .when  Pendennis  b^an  to 


TjtIAT  evening,  after  dinner,  George  sat  with 
his  mother  and  his  Aunt  Fanny  upon  the 
veranda.  In  former  summers,  when  they 
sat  outdoors  in  the  evening,  they  had  customarily 
used  an  open  terrace  at  the  side  of  the  house,  looking 
toward  the  Major's,  but  that  more  private  retreat 
now  afforded  too  blank  and  abrupt  a  view  of  the 
nearest  of  the  new  houses;  so,  without  consultation, 
they  had  abandoned  it  for  the  Romanesque  stone 
structure  in  front,  an  oppressive  place. 

Its  oppression  seemed  congenial  to  George;  he  sat 
ipon  the  copestone  of  the  stone  pflrapet,  his  back 
against  a  stone  pilaster;  his  attitude  not  comfortable, 
but  rigid,  and  his  silence  not  comfortable,  either,  but 
heavy.  However,  to  the  eyes  of  his  mother  and  his 
aunt,  who  occupied  wicker  chairs  at  a  little  distance, 
he  was  almost  indistinguishable  except  for  the  stiff 
white  shield  of  his  evening  frontage. 

"It's  so  nice  of  you  always  to  dress  in  the  evenings 
Georgie,"  his  mother  said,  her  glance  resting  upon 


this  surface.  "Your  Uncle  George  always  used  to, 
and  so  did  father,  for  years;  but  they  both  stopped 
quite  a  long  time  ago.  Unless  there's  some  special 
occasion,  it  seems  to  me  we  don't  see  it  done  any 
more,  except  on  the  stage  and  in  the  magazines." 

He  made  no  response,  and  Isabel,  after  waiting  a 
little  while,  as  if  she  expected  one,  appeared  to  ac- 
quiesce in  his  mood  for  silence,  and  turned  her  head 
to  gaze  thoughtfully  out  at  the  street. 

There,  in  the  highway,  the  evening  life  of  the 
Midland  city  had  begun.  A  rising  moon  was 
bright  upon  the  tops  of  the  shade  trees,  where  their 
branches  met  overhead,  arching  across  the  street, 
but  only  filtered  splasbings  of  moonlight  reached 
the  block  pavement  below;  and  through  this  dark- 
ness flashed  the  firefly  lights  of  silent  bicycles  glid- 
ing by  in  pairs  and  trios — or  sometimes  a  dozen  at  a 
time  might  come,  and  not  so  silent,  striking  their 
little  bells;  the  riders'  voices  calling  and  laughing; 
while  now  and  then  a  pair  of  invisible  experts  would 
pass,  playing  mandolin  and  guitar  as  if  handle-bars 
were  of  no  account  in  the  world — their  music  would 
come  swiftly,  and  then  too  swiftly  die  away.  Sur- 
reys rumbled  lightly  by,  with  the  plod-plod  of  honest 
old  horsfes,  and  frequently  there  was  the  glitter  of 


wluzzmg  qM^us  from  a  nnmboot  m*  a  ^Mrting  boggy, 
and  the  diaip,  derisve  hocrf-beats  of  a  trotter. 
Then,  like  a  cowboy  shooting  iq>  a  peaceful  canqi, 
a  frantic  devil  would  hurtle  out  of  the  distance, 
bdlowing,  exhaust  racketing  like  a  nuujiine  gun 
gcme  amuck — and  at  these  horrid  sounds  the  surreys 
and  buggies  would  hug  the  curbstcme,  and  the 
bicycles  scatter  to  cover,  cursing;  while  diildrai 
rushed  from  the  sidewalks  to  drag  pet  dogs  from  the 
street.  The  thing  would  roar  by,  leaving  a  long 
wake  of  turbulence;  then  the  indignant  street  would 
quiet  down  for  a  few  minutes — till  another  came. 

'"There  are  a  great  many  more  than  there  used  to 
be/^  Miss  Fanny  observed,  in  her  lifeless  voice,  as 
the  lull  fell  after  one  of  these  visitations.  '*  Eugene  is 
right  about  that;  there  seem  to  be  at  least  three  or 
four  times  as  many  as  there  were  last  siunmer,  and 
you  never  hear  the  ragamu£Sns  shouting  "Get  a 
horse!'  nowadays;  but  I  think  he  may  be  mistaken 
about  their  going  on  increasing  after  this.  I  don't 
believe  we'll  see  so  many  next  summer  as  we  do 


"  Why  P'Vasked  Isabel. 

"Because  IVe  begun  to  agree  with  George  about 
their  being  more  a  fad  than  anything  else,  and  I 


think  it  must  be  the  height  of  the  fad  just  now. 
You  know  how  roller-skating  came  in — everybody 
in  the  world  seemed  to  be  crowding  to  the  rinks — 
and  now  only  a  few  children  use  rollers  for  getting  to 
jschool.  Besides,  people  won't  permit  the  automo- 
biles to  be  used.  Really,  I  think  they'll  make  laws 
against  them.  You  see  how  they  spoil  the  bicycling 
and  the  driving;  people  just  seem  to  hate  them! 
They'll  never  stand  it — never  in  the  world!  Of 
course  I'd  be  sorry  to  see  such  a  thing  happen  to 
Eugene,  but  I  shouldn't  be  really  surprised  to  see  a 
law  passed  forbidding  the  sale  of  automobiles,  just 
the  way  there  is  with  concealed  weapons." 

"Fanny!"  exclaimed  her  sister-in-law.  "You're 
not  in  earnest?" 

"lam,  though!" 

Isabel's  sweet-toned  laugh  came  out  of  the  dusk 
where  she  sat.  "Then  you  didn't  mean  it  when  you 
told  Eugene  you'd  enjoyed  the   drive  this   after- 

I  didn't  say  it  so  very  enthusiastically,  did  I?" 
Perhaps   not,    but   he   certainly    thought   he'd 

pleased  you." 

"I  don't  think  I  gave  him  any  right  to  think  he'd 

pleased  me  "  Panny  said,  slowly. 




"Why  not?    Why  shouldn't  you,  Fanny?" 

Fanny  did  not  reply  at  on(;e,  and  when  she  did, 
her  voice  was  ahnost  inaudible,  but  much  more  re- 
proachful than  plaintive.  "I  hardly  think  I'd  want 
any  one  to  get  the  notion  he'd  pleased  me  just  now. 
It  hardly  seems  time,  yet — to  me." 

Isabel  made  no  response,  and  for  a  time  the  only 
sound  upon  the  dark  veranda  was  the  creaking  of  the 
wicker  rocking-chair  in  which  Fanny  sat — a  creaking 
which  seemed  to  denote  content  and  placidity  on 
the  part  of  the  chair's  occupant,  though  at  this 
juncture  a  series  of  human  shrieks  could  have  been 
little  more  eloquent  of  emotional  disturbance.  How- 
ever, the  creaking  gave  its  hearer  one  great  advan- 
tage: it  could  be  ignored. 

"Have  you  given  up  smoking,  George?"  Isabel 
asked  presently. 


"I  hoped  perhaps  you  had,  because  you've  not 
smoked  since  dinner.    We  shan't  mind  if  you  care  to." 

"No,  thanks." 

There  was  silence  again,  except  for  the  creaking  of 
the  rocking-chair;  then  a  low,  clear  whistle,  sin- 
gularly musical,  was  heard  softly  rendering  an  old  air 
from  "Fra  Diavolo."     The  creaking  stopped. 







'*Is  that  you,  George?''  Fanny  asked  abruptly. 

Is  that  me  what?" 

Whistling  'On  Yonder  Rock  Reclining'?" 

It's  I,"  said  Isabel. 
"Oh,"  Fanny  said  dryly. 

Does  it  disturb  you?" 

Not  at  all.  I  had  an  idea  George  was  depressed 
about  something,  and  merely  wondered  if  he  could 
be  making  such  a  cheerful  sound."  And  Fanny  re- 
sumed her  creaking. 

"Is  she  right,  George?"  his  mother  asked  quickly, 
leaning  forward  in  her  chair  to  peer  at  him  through 
the  dusk.  "You  didn't  eat  a  very  hearty  dinner, 
but  I  thought  it  was  probably  because  of  the  warm 
weather.     Are  you  troubled  about  anything?" 

No!'*  he  said  angrily. 

That's  good.  I  thought  we  had  such  a  nice 
day,  didn't  you?" 

"I  suppose  so,"  he  muttered,  and,  satisfied,  she 
leaned  back  in  her  chair;  but  "Fra  Diavolo"  was 
not  revived.  After  a  time  she  rose,  went  to  the 
steps,  and  stood  for  several  minutes  looking  across 
the  street.     Then  her  laughter  was  faintly  heard. 

"Are  you  laughing  about  something?"  Fanny 




"Pardon?"  Isabel  did  not  turn,  but  continued 
her  observation  of  what  had  interested  her  upon 
the  opposite  side  of  the  street. 

"I  asked:    Were  you  laughing  at  something?*' 

"Yes,  I  was!"  And  she  laughed  again.  "It's 
that  funny,  fat  old  Mrs.  Joh;nson.  She  has  a  habit 
of  sitting  at  her  bedroom  window  with  a  pair  of  opera- 


"Really.  You  can  see  the  window  through  the 
place  that  was  left  when  we  had  the  dead  walnut 
tree  cut  down.  She  looks  up  Sixid  down  the  street, 
but  mostly  at  father's  and  over  here.  Sometimes 
she  forgets  to  put  out  the  Ught  in  her  room,  and 
there  she  is,  spying  away  for  all  the  world  to  see!" 

However,  Fanny  made  ^o  effort  to  observe  this 
spectacle,  but  continued  her  creaking.  "I've  always 
thought  her  a  very  good  woman,"  she  said  primly. 

"  So  she  is,"  Isabel  agreed.  "  She's  a  good,  friendly 
old  thing,  a  little  too  intimate  in  her  manner,  some- 
times, and  if  her  poor  old  opera-glasses  afford  her 
the  quiet  happiness  of  knowing  what  sort  of  young 
man  our  new  cook  is  walking  out  with,  I'm  the  last 
to  begrudge  it  to  her!  Don't  you  want  to  come  and 
look  at  her,  George?" 




"What?  I  beg  your  pardon.  I  hadn't  noticed 
what  you  were  talking  about." 

"It's  nothing,"  she  laughed.  "Only  a  funny  old 
lady — ^and  she's  gone  now.  I'm  going,  too^at 
least,  I'm  going  indoors  to  read.  It's  cooler  in  the 
house,  but  the  heat's  really  not  bad  anywhere,  since 
nightfall.  Summer's  dying.  How  quickly  it  goes, 
once  it  begins  to  die." 

When  she  had  gone  into  the  house,  Fanny  stopped 
rocking,  and,  leaning  forward,  drew  her  black  gauze 
wrap  about  her  shoulders  and  shivered.  "Isn't  it 
queer,"  she  said  drearily,  "how  your  mother  can 
use  such  words?" 

"What  words  are  you  talking  about?"  George 

"Words  like  *die'  and  *dying.'  I  don't  see  how 
she  can  bear  to  use  them  so  soon  after  your  poor 
father "     She  shivered  again. 

"It's  almost  a  year,"  George  said  absently,  and 
he  added:  "It  seems  to  me  you're  using  then 

"I?    Never!" 

"Yes,  you  did." 


"Just  this  minute." 


"Oh!"  said  Fanny.  "You  mean  when  I  repeated 
what  she  said?  That^s  hardly  the  same  thing, 

He  was  not  enough  interested  to  argue  the  point. 
"I  don't  think  you'll  convince  anybody  that  mother's 
unfeeling,"  he  said  indifferently. 

"I'm  not  trying  to  convince  anybody.  I  mean 
merely  that  in  my  opinion — well,  perhaps  it  may  .be 
just  as  wise  for  me  to  keep  my  opinions  to  myself." 

She  paused  expectantly,  but  her  possible  anticipa- 
tion that  George  would  urge  her  to  discard  wis- 
dom and  reveal  her  opinion  was  not  fulfilled.  His 
back  was  toward  her,  and  he  occupied  himself  with 
opinions  of  his  own  about  other  matters.  Fanny 
may  have  felt  some  disappointment  as  she  rose  to 

However,  at  the  last  moment  she  halted  with  her 
hand  upon  the  latch  of  the  screen  door. 

"There's  one  thing  I  hope,"  she  said.  "I  hope 
at  least  she  won't  leave  off  her  full  mourning  on  the 
very  anniversary  of  Wilbur's  death!" 

The  light  door  clanged  behind  her,  and  the  sound 
annoyed  her  nephew.  He  had  no  idea  why  she 
thus  used  inoffensive  wood  and  wire  to  dramatize 
her   departure   from   the   veranda,   the   impression 



remaining  with  him  being  that  she  was  critical  of 
his  mother  upon  some  point  of  funeral  millinery. 
Throughout  the  desultory  conversation  he  had 
been  profoundly  concerned  with  his  own  disturbing 
affairs,  and  now  was  preoccupied  with  a  dialogue 
taking  place  (in  his  mind)  between  himself  and  Miss 
Lucy  Morgan.  As  he  beheld  the  vision,  Lucy  had 
just  thrown  herself  at  his  feet.  "  George,  you  mtist 
forgive  me!"  she  cried.  "Papa  was  utterly  wrong! 
I  have  told  him  so,  and  the  truth  is  that  I  have 
come  to  rather  dislike  him  as  you  do,  and  as  you 
always  have,  in  your  heart  of  hearts.  George,  I 
understand  you:  thy  people  shall  be  my  people  and 
thy  gods  my  gods.  George,  won't  you  take  me 

"Lucy,  are  you  sure  you  understand  me?"  And 
in  the  darkness  George's  bodily  lips  moved  in  unison 
with  those  which  uttered  the  words  in  his  imaginary 
rendering  of  this  scene.  An  eavesdropper,  con- 
cealed behind  the  column,  could  have  heard  the 
whispered  word  "sure,"  the  emphasis  put  upon  it  in 
the  vision  was  so  poignant.  "You  say  you  under- 
stand me,  but  are  you  sure  ?  " 

Weeping,  her  head  bowed  almost  to  her  waist,  the 
ethereal  Lucy  made  reply:     "OA,  so  sure!    I  will 


never  listen  to  father's  opinions  again.  I  do  not 
even  care  if  I  never  see  him  again!" 

"Then  I  pardon  you/'  he  said  gently. 

This  softened  mood  lasted  for  several  moments 
— ^until  he  realized  that  it  had  been  brought  about 
by  processes  strikingly  lacking  in  substance.  Ab- 
ruptly he  swujig  his  feet  down  from  the  copestone  to 
the  floor  of  the  veranda.  "Pardon  nothing!"  No 
meek  Lucy  had  thrown  herself  in  remorse  at  his  feet; 
and  now  he  pictured  her  as  she  probably  really  was 
at  this  moment:  sitting  on  the  white  steps  of  her 
own  front  porch  in  the  moonlight,  with  red-headed 
Fred  Kinney  and  silly  Charlie  Johnson  and  four  or 
five  others — all  of  them  laughing,  most  likely,  and 
some  idiot  playing  the  guitar! 

George  spoke  aloud:     "Riffraff!" 

And  because  of  an  impish  but  all  too  natural  re- 
action of  the  mind,  he  could  see  Lucy  with  much 
greater  distinctness  in  this  vision  than  in  his  former 
pleasing  one.  For  a  moment  she  was  miraculously 
real  before  him,  every  line  and  colour  of  her.  He  saw 
the  moonlight  shimmering  in  the  chiffon  of  her  skirts 
brightest  on  her  crossed  knee  and  the  tip  of  her 
slipper;  saw  the  blue  curve  of  the  characteristic 
shadow  behind  her,  as  she  leaned  back  against  the 


white  step;  saw  the  watery  twinkling  of  sequins  in 
the  gauze  wrap  over  her  white  shoulders  as  she 
moved,  and  the  faint,  symmetrical  lights  in  her  black 
hair — and  not  one  alluring,  exasperating  twentieth- 
of-an-inch  of  her  laughing  profile  was  spared  him  as 
she  seemed  to  turn  to  the  infernal  Kinney 

"Riffraflf!*'  And  George  began  furiously  to  pace 
the  stone  floor.  "Riffraff!"  By  this  hard  term — a 
favourite  with  him  since  childhood's  scornful  hour — 
he  meant  to  indicate,  not  Lucy,  but  the  young 
gentlemen  who,  in  his  vision,  surrounded  her.  "Riff- 
raff!" he  said  again,  aloud,  and  again: 


At  that  moment,  as  it  happened,  Lucy  was  play- 
ing chess  with  her  father;  and  her  heart,  though 
not  remorseful,  was  as  heavy  as  George  could  have 
wished.  But  she  did  not  let  Eugene  see  that  she  was 
troubled  J  and  he  was  pleased  when  he  won  three 
games  of  her.     Usually  she  beat  him. 


GEORGE  went  driving  the  next  afternoon 
alone,  and,  encountering  Lucy  and  her 
father  on  the  road,  in  one  of  Morgan's  cars, 
lifted  his  hat,  but  nowise  relaxed  his  formal  coun- 
tenance as  they  passed.  Eugene  waved  a  cordial 
hand  quickly  returned  to  the  steering-wheel;  but 
Lucy  only  nodded  gravely  and  smiled  no  more  than 
George  did.  Nor  did  she  accompany  Eugene  to 
the  Major's  for  dinner,  the  following  Sunday  even* 
ing,  though  both  were  bidden  to  attend  that  feast, 
which  was  already  reduced  in  numbers  and  gayety 
by  the  absence  of  George  Amberson.  Eugene  ex- 
plained to  his  host  that  Lucy  had  gone  away  to  visit 
a  school-friend. 

The  information,  delivered  in  the  library,  just 
before  old  Sam's  appearance  to  announce  dinner, 
set  Miss  Minafer  in  quite  a  flutter.  "Why, 
George!"  she  said,  turning  to  her  nephew.  "How 
does  it  happen  you  didn't  tell  us?'*  And  with 
both  hands  opening,  as  if  to  express  her  innocencf 



of  some  conspiracy,  she  exclaimed  to  the  others, 
"He's  never  said  one  word  to  us  about  Lucy's 
planning  to  go  away ! " 

"Probably  afraid  to,"  the  Major  suggested. 
"Didn't  know  but  he  might  break  down  and  cry  if 
he  tried  to  speak  of  it!"  He  clapped  his  grandson 
on  the  shoulder,  inquiring  jocularly,  "That  it, 

Georgie  made  no  reply,  but  he  was  red  enough  to 
justify  the  Major's  developing  a  chuckle  into  laugh- 
ter; though  Miss  Fanny,  observing  her  nephew 
keenly,  got  an  impression  that  this  fiery  blush  was 
in  truth  more  fiery  than  tender.  She  caught  a  glint 
in  his  eye  less  like  confusion  than  resentment,  and 
saw  a  dilation  of  his  nostrils  which  might  have  indi- 
cated not  so  much  a  sweet  agitation  as  an  inaudible 
snort.  Fanny  had  never  been  lacking  in  curiosity, 
and,  since  her  brother's  death,  this  quality  was  more 
than  ever  alert.  The  fact  that  George  had  spent  all 
the  evenings  of  the  past  week  at  home  had  not 
been  lost  upon  her,  nor  had  she  failed  to  ascertain, 
by  diplomatic  inquiries,  that  since  the  day  of 
the  visit  to  Eugene's  shops  George  had  gone  driving 

At  the  dinner-table  she  continued  to  observe  him, 



sidelong;  and  toward  the  conclusion  of  the  meal 
she  was  not  startled  by  9.n  episode  which  brought  dis- 
comfort to  the  others.  After  the  arrival  of  coflfee  the 
Major  was  rallying  Eugene  upon  some  rival  auto- 
mobile shops  lately  built  in  a  suburb,  and  already 

promising  to  flourish. 


"I  suppose  they'll  either  drive  you  out  of  the 
business,"  said  the  old  gentleman,  "or  else  the  two 
of  you'll  drive  all  the  rest  of  us  off  the  streets." 

"If  we  do,  we'll  even  things  up  by  making  the 
streets  five  or  ten  times  as  long  as  they  are  now,'*" 
Eugene  returned. 

"How  do  you  propose  to  do  that?" 

"It  isn't  the  distance  from  the  centre  of  a  town 
that  counts,"  said  Eugene;  "it's  the  time  it  takes  tO' 
get  there.  This  town's  already  spreading;  bicycles 
and  trolleys  have  been  doing  their  share,  but  the 
automobile  is  going  to  carry  city  streets  clear  out 
to  the  county  line." 

The  Major  was  skeptical.  "Dream  on,  fair 
son!"  he  said.  "It's  lucky  for  us  that  you're  only 
dreaming;  because  if  people  go  to  moving  that  far,, 
real  estate  values  in  the  old  residence  part  of  town 
are  going  to  be  stretched  pretty  thin." 

"I'm  afraid  so,"  Eugene  assented.     "Unless  you 


keep  things  so  bright  and  dean  that  the  old  section 
will  stay  more  attractive  than  the  new  ones.'* 

"Not  very  likely!  How  are  things  going  to  be 
k^t  ^bright  and  clean'  with  soft  coal  and  our  kind 
ol  city  government?" 

"They  aren't,"  Eugene  replied  quickly.  "There's: 
DO  hope  of  it,  and  already  the  boarding-house  i» 
marching  up  National  Avenue.  There  are  two  in 
the  next  block  below  ha%,  and  there  are  a  dozen  in 
the  half-mile  below  that.  My  relatives,  the  Sharons^ 
have  sold  their  house  and  are  building  in  the  country 
— at  least,  they  call  it  *the  country.'  It  will  be  city 
in  two  or  three  years." 

"Good  gracious!"  the  Major  exclaimed,  affecting 
dismay.  "So  your  little  shops  are  going  to  rain  all 
your  old  friends,  Eugene!" 

'  "Unless  my  old  friends  take  warning  in  time,  or 
abolish  smoke  and  get  a  new  kind  of  city  govern- 
ment.  I  should  say  ihe  best  chance  is  to  take 

"Well,  well!"  the  Major  laughed.  "You  have 
enough  faith  in  miracles,  Eugene — ^granting  that 
trolleys  and  bicycles  and  automobiles  are  miracles.. 
Se  you  think  they're  to  change  ike  face  of  the  kmd, 
do  you?" 


"They*re  already  doing  it.  Major;  and  it  can't  be 
stopped.    Automobiles " 

At  this  point  he  was  interrupted.  George  was  the 
interrupter.  He  had  said  nothing  since  entering 
the  dining  room,  but  now  he  spoke  in  a  loud 
and  peremptory  voice,  using  the  tone  of  one  in 
authority  who  checks  idle  prattle  and  settles  a  mat« 
ter  forever. 

'' Automobiles  are  a  useless  nuisance,"  he  said. 

There  fell  a  moment's  silence. 

Isabel  gazed  incredulously  at  George,  colour 
slowly  heightening  upon  her  cheeks  and  temples, 
while  Fanny  watched  him  with  a  qmck  eagerness, 
her  eyes  alert  and  bright.  But  Eugene  seemed 
merely  quizzical,  as  if  not  taking  this  brusquerie  to 
himself.     The  Major  was  seriously  disturbed. 

"What  did  you  say,  George?"  he  asked,  though 
George  had  spoken  but  too  distinctly. 

"I  said  all  automobiles  were  a  nuisance,"  George 
answered,  repeating  not  only  the  words  but  the  tone 
in  which  he  had  uttered  them.  And  he  added, 
"They'll  never  amount  to  anything  but  a  nuisance. 
They  had  no  business  to  be  invented." 

The  Major  frowned.  "Of  course  you  forget  that 
Mr.  Morgan  makes  them,  and  also  did  his  share  in 


inventing  them.  If  you  weren't  so  thoughtless  he 
might  think  you  rather  offensive." 

"That  would  be  too  bad,"  said  George  coolly. 
'^1  don't  think  I  could  survive  it." 

Again  there  was  a  silence,  while  the  Major  stared 
at  his  grandson,  aghast^  But  Eugene  began  to  laugh 

"I'm  not  sure  he's  wrong  about  automobiles,"  he 
said.  "With  all  their  speed  forward  they  may  be  a 
step  backward  in  civilization — that  is,  in  spiritual 
civilization.  It  may  be  that  they  will  not  add  to  the 
beauty  of  the  world,  nor  to  the  life  of  men's  souls. 
'*.  am  not  sure.  But  automobiles  have  come,  and  they 
oring  a  greater  change  in  our  life  than  most  of  us 
inspect.  They  are  here,  and  almost  all  outward 
things  are  going  to  be  different  because  of  what  they 
iring.  They  are  going  to  alter  war,  and  they  are 
going  to  alter  peace.  I  think  men's  minds  are  going 
to  be  changed  in  subtle  ..ays  because  of  automobiles; 
just  how,  though,  I  could  hardly  guess.  But  you 
can't  have  the  immense  outward  changes  that  they 
vill  cause  without  some  inward  ones,  and  it  may  be 
that  George  is  right,  and  that  the  spiritual  alteration 
vill  be  bad  for  us.  Perhaps,  ten  or  twenty  years 
rom  now,  if  we  can  see  the  inward  change  in  men 


by  that  time,  I  shouldn't  be  able  to  defend  the 
gasoline  engine,  but  would  have  to  agree  with  him 
that  automobiles  %ad  no  business  to  be  invented/" 
He  laughed  good-naturedly,  and  looking  at  his 
watch,  apologized  for  having  an  engagement  which 
made  his  departure  necessary  when  he  would  so 
much  prefer  to  linger.  Then  he  shook  hands  with 
the  Major,  and  bade  Isabel,  George,  and  Fanny  a 
cheerful  good-night — a  collective  farewell  cordially 
addressed  to  all  three  of  them  together — and  left 
them  at  the  table. 

Isabel  turned  wondering,  hurt  eyes  upon  her  som. 
** George,  dear!"  she  said.     "What  did  you  mean?** 

"Just  what  I  said,"  he  returned,  lighting  cme  of 
the  Major's  cigars,  and  his  manner  was  imperturbable 
enough  to  warrant  the  definition  (sometimes  merited 
by  imperturbability)  of  stubbornness. 

Isabel's  hand,  pale  and  slender,  upon  the  table- 
cloth, touched  one  of  the  fine  silver  candlesticks 
aimlessly:  the  fingers  were  seen  to  tremble.  "Oh, 
he  was  hurt!"  she  murmured. 

"I  don't  see  why  he  should  be,"  George  said.  "1 
didn't  say  anything  about  him.  He  didn't  seem  to 
me  to  be  hurt — seemed  perfectly  cheerful.  What 
made  you  think  he  was  hurt?" 


"I  know  him!"  was  all  of  her  reply,  half  whis- 

The  Major  stared  hard  at  George  from  under  his 
white  eyebrows.  ."You  didn't  mean  ^kim/  you 
say,  George?  I  sui^»€6e  if  we  had  a  clergyman  as  a 
guest  here  you'd  expect  him  not  to  be  offended,  and 
to  understand  that  your  remarks  were  neither  per- 
sonal nor  untactful,  if  you  said  the  church  was  a 
nuj«(0^nee  and  ought  never  to  have  beaa  invented* 
By  Jove,  but  you're  a  puzzle!" 

'^In  what  way,  may  I  ask,  sir?" 

"We  seem  to  have  a  new  kind  of  young  people 
these  days»"  the  old  gentleman  returned,  shaking  his 
head*  "It's  a  new  style  of  courting  a  pretty  girU 
certainly,  for  a  young  fdlow  to  go  deliberately  out 
of  his  way  to  try  and  make  an  enemy  of  her  father  by 
attacking  his  business!  By  Jove!  That's  a  new 
way  to  win  a  woman!" 

George  flushed  angrily  and  seemed  about  to  offer 
a  retort,  but  held  his  breath  for  a  moment;  and  then 
held  his  peace.  It  was  Isabel  who  responded  to  the 
Majoff.  " Qh',  no ! "  she  said.  "Eugene  would  never 
be  anybody's  enemy — ^he  couldn't! — and  last  of  all. 
Georgie's.  I'm  afraid  he  was  hurt,  but  I  don't  fear 
^  not  having  understood  that  George  spoke  with* 


out  thinking  of  what  he  was  saying — I  mean,  wiA- 
out  realizing  its  bearing  on  Eugene." 

Again  George  seemed  upon  the  point  of  speech 
and  again  controlled  the  impulse.     He  thrust  his 
hands  in  his  pockets,  leaned  back  in  his  chair,  anc 
smoked,  staring  inflexibly  at  the  ceiling. 

"Well,  well,"  said  his  grandfather,  rising.  "It 
wasn't  a  very  successful  little  dinner!" 

Thereupon  he  offered  his  arm  to  his  daughter,  whc 
took  it  fondly,  and  they  left  the  room,  Isabel  assuring 
him  that  all  his  little  dinners  were  j^leasant.  and  thafi 
this  one  was  no  exception. 

George  did  not  move,  and  Fanny,  following  thi 
other  two,  came  roimd  the  table,  and  paused  close 
beside  his  chair;  but  George  remained  posed  in  his 
great  imperturbability,,  cigar  between  teeth,  eyes 
upon  ceiling,  and  paid  no  attention  to  her.  Fanny 
waited  until  the  sound  of  Isabel's  and  the  Major's 
voices  became  inaudible  in  the  hall.  Then  she 
said  quickly,  and  in  a  low  voice  so  eager  that  it  was 

"George,  you've  struck  just  the  treatment  to 
adopt:  you're  doing  the  right  thing!" 

She  hurried  out,  scurrying  after  the  others  with  a 
faint  rustling  of  her  black  skirts,  leaving    Geoige 


mystified  but  incurious.  He  did  not  understand 
why  she  should  bestow  her  approbation  upon  him 
in  the  matter,  and  cared  so  little  whether  she  did  or 
not  that  he  spared  himself  even  the  trouble  of  being 
puzzled  about  it. 

In  truth,  however,  he  was  neither  so  comfortable 
nor  so  imperturbable  as  he  appeared.  He  felt  some 
gratification:  he  had  done  a  little  to  put  the  man  in 
his  place — that  man  whose  influence  upon  his  daugh- 
ter was  precisely  the  same  thing  as  a  contemptuous 
criticism  of  George  Amberson  Minafer,  and  of 
George  Amberson  Minafer's  "ideals  of  life."  Lucy's 
going  away  without  a  word  was  intended,  he  sup- 
posed, as  a  bit  of  pimishment.  Well,  he  wasn't 
the  sort  of  man  that  people  were  allowed  to  punish : 
lie  could  demonstrate  that  to  them — since  they 
started  it! 

It  appeared  to  him  as  almost  a  kind  of  insolence, 
this  abrupt  departure — not  even  telephoning !  Prob- 
ably she  wondered  how  he  would  take  it;  she  even 
might  have  supposed  he  would  show  some  betraying 
chagrin  when  he  heard  of  it. 

He  had  no  idea  that  this  was  just  what  he  had 
shown;  and  he  was  satisfied  with  his  evening's  per 
(ormance.     Nevertheless,  he  was  not   comfortable 


in  liis  mind;  though  he  could  not  have  explained 
his  inward  perturbation^i,  for  he  was  convincedf 
without  any  confirmation  from  his  Aunt  Fami^^i 
that  he  had  done  *' juat  the  KJi^t 


ISABEL  came  to  George's  door  that  night,  and 
when  she  had  kissed  him  good-night  she 
remained  in  the  open  doorway  with  her 
hand  upon  his  shoulder  and  her  eyes  thoughtfully 
lowered,  so  that  her  wish  to  say  something  more 
than  good-night  was  evident.  Not  less  obvious 
was  her  perplexity  about  the  manner  of  saying  it; 
and  George,  divining  her  thought,  amiably  made  an 
opening  for  her. 

"Well,  old  lady,"  he  said  indulgently,  "you  needn't 
fook  so  worried.  I  won't  be  tactless  with  Morgan 
again.     After  this  I'll  just  keep  out  of  his  way." 

Isabel  looked  up,  searching  his  face  with  the  fond 
puzzlement  which  her  eyes  sometimes  showed  when 
they  rested  upon  him;  then  she  glanced  down  the 
hall  toward  Fanny's  room,  and,  after  another  mo- 
ment of  hesitation,  came  quickly  in,  and  closed  the 
.  door. 

"Dear,"  she  said,  *^I  wish  you'd  tell  me  something: 
Why  don't  you  like  Eugene?  *• 



"Oh,  I  like  him  well  enough,"  George  returned, 
with  a  short  laugh,  as  he  sat  down  and  began  tc 
unlace  his  shoes.  "I  like  him  well  enough — ^in  his 

"No,  dear,"  she  said  hurriedly.  "I've  had  a 
feeling  from  the  very  first  that  you  didn't  really  like 
him — that  you  really  never  liked  him.  Sometimes 
^you've  seemed  to  be  friendly  with  him,  and  you'c 
laugh  with  him  over  something  in  a  jolly,  com- 
panionable  way,  and  I'd  think  I  was  wrong,  and 
that  you  really  did  like  him,  after  all;  but  to-nighf 
I'm  sure  my  other  feeling  was  the  right  one:  yor 
don't  like  him.  I  can't  understand  it,  dear;  I  don*;, 
see  what  can  be  the  matter." 

"Nothing's  the  matter." 

This  easy  declaration  naturally  failed  to  carrj 
great  weight,  and  Isabel  went  on,  in  her  troubled 
voice,  "It  seems  so  queer,  especially  when  you  feel 
as  you  do  about  his  daughter." 

At  this,  George  stopped  unlacing  his  shoes  abruptly ^ 
and  sat  up.  "  How  do  I  feel  about  his  daughter?  "  he 

"Well,  it's  seemed — as  if — as  if "  Isabel  began 

timidly.     "It  did  seem At  least,  you  haven't 

looked  at  any  other  girl,  ever  since  they  came  here^ 


and — and  certainly  you've,  seemed  very  much  inter- 
ested in  her.  Certainly  youVe  been  very  great 
friends  ?^^ 

"Well,  what  of  that?" 

"It's  only  that  I'm  like  your  grandfather:  I 
can't  see  how  you  could  be  so  much  interested  in  a 
girl  and — and  not  feel  very  pleasantly  toward  he/ 

"Well,  I'll  tell  you  something,"  George  said 
slowly;  and  a  frown  of  concentration  could  be  seen 
upon  his  brow,  as  frona  a  profound  effort  at  self- 
examination.  "I  haven't  ever  thought  much  on 
that  particular  point,  but  I  admit  there  may  be  a 
little  something  in  what  you  say.  The  truth. is, 
I  don't  believe  I've  ever  thought  of  the  two  together, 
exactly — at  least,  not  until  lately.  I've  always 
thought  of  Lucy  just  as  Lucy,  and  of  Morgan  just  as 
Morgan.  I've  always  thought  of  her  as  a  person 
herself,  not  as  anybody's  daughter.  I  don't  see 
what's  very  extraordinary  about  that.  You've 
probably  got  plenty  of  friends,  for  instance,  that 
don't  care  much  about  your  son " 

"No,  indeed!"  she  protested  quickly.  "And  if  I 
knew  anybody  who  felt  like  that,  I  wouldn't " 

"Never  mind,"  he  interrupted.     "I'll  try  to  ex- 


plain  a  little  more.  If  I- have  a  friend,  I  don't  iiM 
that  it's  incumbent  upon  me  to  like  that  friend's 
relatives.  If  I  didn't  like  them,  and  pretended  to, 
i'd  be  a  hypocrite.  If  that  friend  likes  me  and 
wants  to  stay  my  friend  he'U  have  to  stand  my  not 
liking  his  relatives,  or  else  he  can  quit.  I  decline 
to  be  a  hypocrite  about  it;  that's  all.  Now,  suppose 
I  have  certain  ideas  or  ideals  which  I  have  diosen 
for  the  regulation  of  my  own  condufct  in  life.  Sup- 
pose some  friend  of  mine  has  a  relative  with  ideals 
directly  the  opposite  of  mine,  and  my  friend  be- 
lieves  more  in  the  relative's  ideals  than  in  mine: 
Do  you  think  I  ought  to  give  up  my  own  just  to 
please  a  person  who's  taken  up  ideals  that  I  really 

"No,  dear;  of  course  people  can't  give  up  their 
ideals;  but  I  don't  see  what  this  has  to  do  with  dear 
little  Lucy  and " 

"I  didn't  say  it  had  anything  to  do  with  them," 
he  interrupted.  "I  was  merely  putting  a  case  to 
show  how  a  person  would  be  justified  in  being  a 
friend  of  one.  member  of  a  family,  and  feeling  any- 
thing but  friendly  toward  another.  I  don't  say, 
though,  that  I  feel  unfriendly  to  Mr.  Morgan.    I 

■  *  * 

don't  say  that  I  feel  friendly  to  him,  and  I  don't  say 



that  I  feel  unfriendly;  but  if  you  really  tliink  that  1 
was  rude  tQ  Ww  to-night " 

"Just  thoughtless,  dear.  Yqu  didn't  see  that 
what  you  said  to-night '* 

"Well,  FB  not  say  anything  of  that  sort  again 
where  he  can  hear  it.    There,  isn't  that  enough?" 

Thift  question,  delivered  with  large  indulgence, 
:net  with  no  respoAse;  for  Isabel,  still  searching  his 
face  with  her  troubled  and  perplexed  gaze,  seemed 
not  to  have  heard  it.  On  that  account,  George 
repeated  it,  an,d  rising,  went  to  her  and  patted  her 
reassuringly  upon  the  shoulder*  "There,  old  lady, 
ypu  needn't  fear  my  tactlessness  will  worry  you 
again.     I  can't  quite  promise  to  like  people  I  don't 

care  about  one  way  or  another,  but  you  can  be  sure 


I'H  be  careful,  after  this,  not  to  let  them  see  it.  It's 
all  right,  and  you'd  better  toddle  alotng  to  bed,  be- 
cause I  want  to  undress." 

"But,  George,"  she  said  earnestly,  "you  would 
lik^  him,  if  you'd  just  let  yourself.  You  say  you 
don't  dislike  him.  Why  don't  you  like  him?  I 
can't  imderstand  at  all.  What  isf.  it  that  you 
don't " 

"  Ther^,  there ! "  he  said.  "  It's  ajl  rig^t^,  a^d  you 
toddle  along." 


'*But,  George " 

"Now,  now!  I  really  do  want  to  get  into  bed. 
Good-night,  old  lady." 

"Good-night,  dear.    But " 

"Let's  not  talk  of  it  any  more,"  he  said.  "It's  all 
right,  and  nothing  in  the  world  to  worry  about. .  So 
good-night,  old  lady.  I'll  be  polite  enough  to  him, 
never  fear — if  we  happen  to  be  thrown  together. 
So  jood-night!" 

"But,  George,  dear " 

"I'm  going  to  bed,  old  lady;  so  good-night." 

Thus  the  interview  closed  perforce.  She  kissed 
him  again  before  going  slowly  to  her  own  room,  hei 
perplexity  evidently  not  dispersed;  but  the  subject 
was  not  renewed  between  them  the  next  day  or  sub- 
sequently. Nor  did  Fanny  make  any  allusion  to  the 
cryptic  approbation  she  had  bestowed  upon  her 
nephew  after  the  Major's  "not  very  successful  little 
dinner";  though  she  annoyed  George  by  looking  at 
him  oftener  and  longer  than  he  cared  to  be  looked  at 
by  an  aimt.  He  could  not  glance  her  way,  it  seemed, 
without  finding  her  red-rimmed  eyes  fixed  upon  him 
eagerly,  with  an  alert  and  hopeful  calculation  in 
them  which  he  declared  would  send  a  nervous  man 
into  fits.     For  thus,  one  day,  he  broke  out,  in  protest: 


"It  would!"  he  repeated  vehemently.  "Given 
time  it  would' — straight  into  fits!  What  do  you 
find  the  matter  with  me?  Is  my  tie  always  sUpping 
up  behind?  Can't  you  look  at  something  else?  My 
Lord!  We'd  better  buy  a  C9,t  for  you  to  stare  at, 
Aimt  Fanny!  A  eat  could  stand  it,  maybe.  What 
in  the  name  of  goodness  do  you  expect  to  see  ?  " 

But  Fanny  laughed  good-naturedly,  and  was  not 
ofiFended.  "It's  more  as  if  I  expected  you  to  see 
something,  isn't  it?"  she  said  quietly,  still  laughing. 

"Now,  what  do  you  mean  by  that?" 


"All  right,  I  don't.  But  for  heaven's  sake  stare 
at  somebody  else  awhile.  Try  it  on  the  house-* 

"Well,  well,"  Fanny  said  indulgently,  and  then 
dkose  to  be  more  obscure  in  her  meaning  than  ever, 
for  she  adopted  a  tone  of  deep  sympathy  for  her 
final  remark,  as  she  left  him:  "I  don't  wonder 
you're  nervous  these  days,  poor  boy!" 

And  George  indignantly  supposed  that  she  referred 
to  the  ordeal  of  Lucy's  continued  absence.  During 
this  period  he  successfully  avoided  contact  with 
Lucy%  father,  though  Eugene  came  frequently  to 
the  house,  and  spent  several  evenings  with-  Isabel 


and  Fanny;  aitd  sometimes  persuaded  them  andllie 
Major  to  go  for  an  afternoon's  motoring.  He  ^d 
not,  however,  eome  again  to  the  Major's  Sumlfty 
evening  dinner,  even  when  George  Amberaon  re- 
turned. Simday  evening  was  the  time,  he  explatned, 
for  going  over  the  week's  work  with  his  ladbory 


.  .  .  When  Lucy  came  home  the  autunin  was 
far  enough  advanced  to  smell  of  burning  leave^^ 
and  for  the  annual  editorials,  in  the  papers,  on  the 
purple  haze,  the  golden  branches,  the  ruddy  fhiit, 
and  the  pleasure  of  long  tramps  in  the  brown  forest. 
George  *had  not  heard  of  her  arrival,  and  he  met 
her,  on  the  afternoon  following  that  event,  at  the 
Sharons',  where  he  had  gone  in  the  secret  hope  that 
he  might  hear  something  a;botit  her.  Janie  Shaibn 
had  just  begun  to  tell  him  that  she  heard  Lucy  was 
expected  home  soon,  after  having  "a  perfeofly 
gorgeous  time" — information  which  George  received 
with  no  responsive  enthusiasm — ^when  Lucy  came 
demurely  in,  a  proper  little  autumn  figure  in  green 
and  brown. 

Her  cheeks  were  flushed,  and  her  dark  eyes  were 
bright  indeed;  evidences,  as  George  supposed,  of  the 


excitement  incidental  to  the  perfectly  gqigeous  time 
ju9t  concluded;  though  Janie  and  Mary  Sharan  boUi 
thought  they  were  the  effect  of  Lucy*s  haviqg  seen 
George's  runabout  in  front  of  the  house  as  she  came 
in.  George  took  on  colour,  himself,  as  he  rose  and 
Jiodd^  indifferently;  and  the  hot  suffusion  to  which 
Jie  became  subject  extended  its. area  to  indlude  his 
neck  and  ears.  Nothing  could  have  made  him 
umdx  more  indignant  than  his  consciousness  of  these 
symptoms  of  the  icy  indifference  which  it  was  his 
purpose  not  only  to  show  but  to  feel. 

She  kissed  her  cousins,  )gave  George  her  hand,  said 
"How  d'you  do,"  and  took  a  chair  beside  Janie  with 
a  composure  which  augmented  George's  indignation. 

"How  d'you  do,"  he  said.  "I  trust  that  ah— I 
trust — ^I  do  trust " 

He  stopped,  for  it  seemed  to  him  that  the  word 
"trust"  sounded  idiotic.  Then,  to  cover  his  awk- 
«?ardness,  he  coughed,  and  even  to  his  own  rosy  ears 
his  cough  was  ostentatiously  a  false  one.  Where- 
upon, seeking  to  be  plausible,  he  coughed  again,  and 
instantly  hated  himself:  the  sound  he  made  was  an 
atrocity.  Meanwhile,  Lucy  sat  silent,  and  the  two 
Sharon  girls  leaned  forward,  staring  at  him  with 
strained  eyes,  their  lips  tightly  compressed;  and  both 


were  but  too  easily  diagnosed  as  subject  to  an  agita- 
tion which  threatened  their  self-control.  He  began 

"I  tr — ^I  hope  you  have  had  a — ^a  pleasant  time. 
I  tr — ^I  hope  you  are  well.     I  hope  you  are  extremely 

— I  hope  extremely — extremely "     And  again  he 

stopped  in  the  midst  of  his  floimdering,  not  knowing 
how  to  progress  beyond  *^  extremely,"  and  unable 
to  understand  why  the  infernal  word  kept  getting 
into  his  mouth. 

"I  beg  your  pardon?"  Lucy  said. 

George  was  never  more  furious;  he  felt  that  he  was 
"making  a  spectacle  of  himself";  and  no  young  gen- 
tieman  in  the  world  was  more  loath  than  George 
Amberson  Minafer  to  look  a  figure  of  fun.  And 
Vhile  he  stood  there,  undeniably  such  a  figure,  with 
Janie  and  Maiy  Sharon  threatening  to  burst  at  any 
moment,  if  laughter  were  longer  denied  them,  Lucy 
sat  looking  at  him  with  her  eyebrows  delicately  lifted 
in  casual,  polite  inquiry.  Her  own  complete  com- 
posure was  what  most  galled  him. 

"Nothing  of  the  slightest  importance!"  he  man^ 
aged  to  say.  "I  was  just  leaving.  Good  after- 
noon!" And  with  long  strides  he  reached  the  door» 
«nd  hastened  through  the  hall;  but  before  he  closed 


the  front  door  he  heard  from  Janie  and  Mary 
Sharon  the  outburst  of  wild,  irrepressible  emotion 
which  his  performance  had  inspired. 

He  drove  home  in  a  tumultuous  mood,  and  almost 
ran  down  two  ladies  who  were  engaged  in  absorbing 
conversation  at  a  crossing.  They  were  his  Aunt 
Fanny  and  the  stout  Mrs.  Johnson;  a  jerk  of  the 
reins  at  the  last  instant  saved  them  by  a  few  inches; 
but  their  conversation  was  so  interesting  that  they 
were  unaware  of  their  danger,  and  did  not  notice  the 
runabout,  nor  how  close  it  came  to  them.  George 
was  so  furious  with  himself  and  with  the  girl  whose 
unexpected  coming  into  a  room  could  make  him 
look  such  a  fool,  that  it  might  have  soothed  him  a 
little  if  he  had  actually  run  over  the  two  absorbed 
ladies  without  injuring  them  beyond  repair.  At 
least,  he  said  to  himself  that  he  wished  he  had;  it 
might  have  taken  his  mind  off  of  himself  for  a  few 
minutes.  For,  in  truth,  to  be  ridiculous  (and  know 
it)  was  one  of  several  things  that  George  was 
unable  to  endure.     He  was  savage. 

He  drove  into  the  Major's  stable  too  fast,  the 
sagacious  Pendennis  saving  himself  from  going 
through  a  partition  by  a  swerve  which  splintered  a 
shaft  of  the  runabout  and  almost  threw  the  driver  to 




the  floor.  George  s^wpi*^*  ^^od  then  swore  again 
at  the  fat  old  darkey.  Top;,  for  giggling  at  his 

^^EEoopee!"  said  old  Tom.  "Mus'  been  some 
white  lady  use  Mist'  Jawge  mighty  bad!  White 
lady  say,  *No,  suh,  I  ain'  go'n  out  ridin'  'ith  Mist' 
Jawge  no  mp'!'  Mist'  Jawge  drive  in.  'Dam  dm 
dam  worl'!  Pam  de  dam  hoss!  Dam  de  dmn 
nigga'!  Dam  de  dam  dam!'  Hoopee!" 
That'll  d^!"  George  said  sternly. 

George  strode  from  the  stable,  crossed  the  Major'a 
ba^^k  yard,  then  passed  behind  the  new  housed,  on 
his  way  home.  These  structures  \7ere  now  ap- 
proaching completion,  but  still  in  a  state  of  rawness 
hideous  to  George — though,  for  that  matter,  they 
were  n^ver  to  be  anything  except  hideous  to  him- 
Behind  them,  stray  planks,  bricks,  refuse  of  plasteit 
and  lath,  shingles,  straw,  empty  barrels,  strips  of 
twisted  tin  and  broken  tiles  were  strewn  everywhere 
over  the  dried  and  pitted  gray  mud  where  once  the 
suafve  law^  had  l^in  like  a  green  lake  around  those 
stately  isilands^.  the  two  Amberson  houses.  A;ad 
George's,  state  of  mind  was  npt  improved  by  hi^ 
present  vi^w  qf  this  repulsive  area,  nor  by  his  sens^ 

THE  MAGNIFICENT  AiitiBEtl30Nfe    §93 

tions  when  he  kicked  an  uptilted  shin^e  ollly  to  dis- 
cover that  what  uptilted  it  was  k  t)rfckbat  on  the 
other  side  of  it.  After  that,  the  whole  trorid  seemed 
to  be  one  solid  conspiracy  of  malevolcAcfe. 

In  this  temper  he  emerged  from  behind  the  house 
nearest  to  his  own,  and,  glancing  toward  the  stfeet, 
saw  his  mother  standing  with  Eugene  Morgan 
upon  the  cement  path  that  led  to  the  front  gate. 
She  was  bareheaded,  and  Eugene  held  his  hat  and 
stick  in  his  hand;  evidently  he  had  been  calling  upon 
her,  and  she  had  come  from  the  house  with  him, 
continuing  their  conversation  alld  delaying  their 

They  had  paused  in  their  slow  walk  from  the 
front  door  to  the  gate,  yet  still  stood  side  by  side, 
their  shoulders  almost  touching,  as  though  neither 
Isabel  nor  Eugene  quite  realised  that  their  feet 
had  ceased  to  bear  them  forward;  and  they  were  not 
looking  at  each  other,  but  at  some  indefinite  point 
before  them,  as  people  do  who  consider  together 
thoughtfully  and  in  harmony.  The  conversation  was 
evidently  serious;  his  head  was  bent,  and  Isabel's 
lifted  left  hand  rested  against  her  cheek;  but  all  the 
significances  of  their  thoughtful  attitude  denoted 
companionableness   and   a    shared    understanding. 


Yet,  a  stranger,  passing,  would  not  have  thought 
them  married:  somewhere  about  Eugene,  not  quite 
to  be  located,  there  was  a  romantic  gravity;  and 
Isabel,  tall  and  graceful,  with  high  colour  and  ab- 
sorbed eyes,  was  visibly  no  wife  walking  down  to 
the  gate  with  her  husband. 

George  stared  at  them.  A  hot  dislike  struck  him 
at  the  sight  of  Eugene;  and  a  vague  revulsion,  like  a 
strange,  impleasant  taste  in  his  mouth,  came  over 
him  as  he  looked  at  his  mother :  her  manner  was  elo- 
quent of  so  much  thought  about  her  companion  and 
of  such  reliance  upon  him.  And  the  picture  the 
two  thus  made  was  a  vivid  one  indeed,  to  George, 
whose  angry  eyes,  for  some  reason,  fixed  themselves 
most  intently  upon  Isabel's  Kfted  hand,  upon  the 
white  ruflBe  at  her  wrist,  bordering  the  graceful  black 
sleeve,  and  upon  the  Uttle  indentations  in  her  cheek 
where  the  tips  of  her  fingers  rested.  She  should 
not  have  worn  white  at  her  wrist,  or  at  the  throat 
either,  George  felt;  and  then,  strangely,  his  resent- 
ment concentrated  upon  those  tiny  indentations  at 
the  tips  of  her  fingers — actual  changes,  however 
slight  and  fleeting,  in  his  mother's  face,  made 
because  of  Mr.  Eugene  Morgan.  For  the  moment, 
it  seemed  to  George  that  Morgan  might  have  claimed 


the  ownership  of  a  face  that  changed  for  him.  It 
was  as  if  he  owned  Isabel. 

The  two  began  to  walk  on  toward  the  gate,  where 
they  stopped  again,  turning  to  face  each  other,  and 
Isabel's  glance,  passing  Eugene,  fell  upon  George. 
Instantly  she  smiled  and  waved  her  hand  to  him; 
while  Eugene  turned  and  nodded;  but  George, 
standmg  as  in  some  rigid  trance,  and  staring  straight 
at  them,  gave  these  signals  of  greeting  no  sign  of 
recognition  whatever.  Upon  this,  Isabel  called  to 
him,  waving  her  hand  again. 

"Georgie!"  she  called,  laughing.  "Wake  up, 
dear!     Georgie,  hello!" 

George  turned  away  as  if  he  had  neither  seen  nor 
heard,  and  stalked  into  the  house  by  the  side  door. 


HE  WENT  to  his  room,  threw  off  his  coat, 
waistcoat,  collar,  and  tie,  letting  them  lie 
where  they  chanced  to  fall,  and  then,  having 
violently  enveloped  himself  in  a  black  velvet  dressing- 
gown,  continued  this  action  by  lying  down  with  a 
vehemence  that  brought  a  wheeze  of  protest  from  his 
bed.  His  repose  was  only  a  momentary  semblance, 
however,  for  it  lasted  no  longer  than  the  time  it 
took  him  to  groan  "Riffraff!"  between  his  teeth. 
Then  he  sat  up,  swimg  his  feet  to  the  floor,  rose, 
and  began  to  pace  up  and  down  the  large  room. 

He  had  just  been  consciously  rude  to  his  mother 
for  the  first  time  in  his  life;  for,  with  all  his  riding 
down  of  populace  and  riffraff,  he  had  never  before 
been  either  deliberately  or  impulsively  disregardful 
of  her.  When  he  had  hurt  her  it  had  been  acciden- 
tal; and  his  remorse  for  such  an  accident  was  always 
adequate  compensation — and  more — to  Isabel.  But 
now  he  had  done  a  rough  thing  to  her;  and  he  did 
not  repent;  the  rather  he  was  the  more  irritated  witli 


faer.  And  when  he  heard  her  ipresently  go  by  his 
door  with  a  light  step,  singing  cheerfully  to  herself 
as  she  went  to  her  room,  he  p>erceived  that  she  had 
mistaken  his  intention  altogether,  or,  indeed,  had 
failed  to  perceive  »that  he  had  any  intention  at  all. 
Evidently  she  had  concluded  that  he  refused  to 
speak  to  her  and  Morgan  out  of  sheer  absent-mind- 
edness, supposing  him  so  hnmersed  in  some  pre- 
occupation  that  he  had  not  seen  them  or  heard  her 
calling  to  ^him.  Therefore  there  was  nothing  of 
whidh  to  repent,  ev^  if  he  had  he&a.  so  minded;  and 
probably  Eugene  himself  was  una/ware  that  any  dis- 
approval had  recently  been  expressed.  George 
snorted.  What  sort  of  a  dreamy  loon  4id  they  take 
him  to  be?  \ 

There  came  a  deUcate,  eager  tapping  at  his  door, 
not  done  with  a  Imuckle  but  with  the  tip  erf  a  finger- 
nail, which  was  instantly  clarified  to  tJeorge's 
mind's  eye  as  plamly  as  if  he  saw  it:  tlie  long  and 
polished  white-mooned  pink  shield  cm  the  end  of  his 
Aunt  Fanny*s  right  forefinger.  But  George  was 
in  no  mood  for  human  commimications,  and  even 
when  tilings  went  well  he  had  little  pleasure  in 
Fanny's  society.  Therefore  it  is  not  surprising  that 
at  the  sound  of  her  tapping,  instead  of  bidding  her 


enter,  he  immediately  crossed  the  room  with  the 
intention  of  locking  the  door  to  keep  her  out. 

Fanny  was  too  eager,  and,  opening  the  door  before 
he  reached  it,  came  quickly  in,  and  closed  it  behind 
her.  She  was  in  a  street  dress  and  a  black  hat,  with 
a  black  umbrella  in  her  black-gloved  hand — ^for  Fan- 
ny's heavy  mourning,  at  least,  was  nowhere  tempered 
with  a  glimpse  of  white,  though  the  anniversaiy  of 
Wilbur's  death  had  passed.  An  infinitesimal  per- 
spiration gleamed  upon  her  pale  skin;  she  breathed 
fast,  as  if  she  had  rim  up  the  stairs;  and  excitement 
was  sharp  in  her  widened  eyes.  Her  look  was  that 
of  a  person  who  had  just  seen  something  extraor- 
dinary or  heard  thrilling  news. 

"Now,  what  on  earth  do  you  want?"  her  chilling 
nephew  demanded. 

" George,*'  she  said  hurriedly,  "I  saw  what  you  did 
when  you  wouldn't  speak  to  them.  I  was  sitting 
with  Mrs.  Johnson  at  her  front  window,  across  the 
street,  and  I  saw  it  all." 

"WeU,whatof  it?" 

"You  did  right!"  Fanny  said  with  a  vehemence 
not  the  less  spirited  because  she  suppressed  hei 
voice  almost  to  a  whisper.  "You  did  exactly  right? 
You're  behaving  splendidly  about  the  whole  thing. 


and  I  want  to  tell  you  I  know  your  father  would 
thank  you  if  he  could  see  what  you're  doing." 

"My  Lord!"  George  broke  out  at  her.  "You 
make  me  dizzy!  For  heaven's  sake  quit  the  mys- 
terious detective  business — at  least  do  quit  it  around 
me!  Go  and  try  it  on  somebody  else,  if  you  like; 
but  /  don't  want  to  hear  it!" 

She  began  to  tremble,  regarding  him  with  a  fixed 
gaze.  "You  don't  care  to  hear  then,"  she  said 
huskily,  "that  I  approve  of  what  you're  doing?" 

"Certainly  not!  Since  I  haven't  the  faintest  idea 
what  you  think  I'm  'doing,'  naturally  I  don't  care 
whether  you  approve  of  it  or  not.  All  I'd  like,  if 
you  please,  is  to  be  alone.  I'm  not  giving  a  tea  here, 
this  afternoon,  if  you'll  permit  me  to  mention  it!" 

Fanny's  gaze  wavered;  she  began  to  blink;  then 
suddenly  she  sank  into  a  chair  and  wept  silently,  but 
with  a  terrible  desolation. 

"Oh,  for  the  Lord's  sake!"  he  moaned.  "What 
in  the  world  is  wrong  with  you?  " 

"You're  always  picking  on  me,"  she  quavered 
wretchedly,  her  voice  indistinct  with  the  wetness 
that  bubbled  into  it  from  her  tears.  "You  do — 
you  always  pick  on  me!  You've  always  done  it— » 
always — ever  since  you   were  a  little  boy!    When- 


ever  anything  goes  wromg  with  you,  you  take  it  out 
on  me !    You  do  f    You  always — ^  " 

George  flung  to  heaven  a  gesture  of  despair;  it 
seemed  to  hina  the  last  straw  that  Fanny  should 
have  chosen  this  particular  time  to  come  and  sob  i» 
his  room  over  his  nxistreatment  of  her! 

"Oh,  my  Lord!"  he  whispered;  then,  with  a  great 
effort,  addressed  her  in  a  reasonable  tone:  "Look 
here.  Aunt  Fanny;  I  don't  see  what  you're  making 
all  this  fuss  about.  Of  course  I  kn,ow  I've  tea^d 
you  sometimes,  but " 

"Tea^«i' me?"  she  wailed.  '''Teased' mel  Oh. 
it  does  sjeean  too  hard,  sometimes — this  mean  old  lif« 
of  mine  does  seem  too  hard !  I  don't  think  I  can  stand 
it!  Honestly,  I  don't  think  I  can!  I  came  in  here 
just  to  show  you  I  sympathized  with  you — ^just  to  say 
sopaetlwg.  pleasant  to  you,  and  you  treat  me  as  if  I 
were — oh,  no,  you  wouJdnH  treat  a  servant  the  way  you 
treat  me!  You  wouldn't  treat  anybody  in  the  world 
like  this  except  old  Fanny!  ^Old  Faimy'  you  say. 
Tt's  nobody  but  old  Fanny,  so  I'll  kick  her — ^nobody 
will  resent  it.  I'll  kick  her  all  I  want  to!'  You  do  I 
That's  how  you  think  of  me — I  know  it !  And  you're 
right:  I  haven't  got  anything  in  the  world,  sii^ee 
UE^y  brother  died — ^nobody — nothing — nothing!" 


**0h  my  Lordr^  George  groaned. 

Fanny  spread  out  her  small>  so&ked  handkerchief, 
and  shook  it  in  the  air  to  dry  it  a  little,  crying  as 
damply  and  as  wretchedly  during  this  operation  as 
before — a  sight  which  gave  George  a  curious  shock  to 
add  to  his  other  agitations,  it  seemed  so  ^troAge* 
"I  ought  not  to  have  come,*'  she  went  on,  "because 
I  might  have  known  it  would  only  give  you  an  ex- 
cuse to  pick  on  me  again !  I'm  sorry  enough  I  came* 
I  can  tell  you!  I  didn't  meati  to  speak  of  it  again 
to  you,  at  all;  and  I  wouldn't  have,  but  I  saw  how 
you  treated  them,  and  I  guess  I  got  excited  about  it, 
and  couldn't  help  following  the  impulse — ^but  I'll 
know  better  next  time,  I  can  tell  you!  I'll  keep 
my  mouth  shut  as  I  meant  to,  and  ajs  I  would  have, 
if  I  hadn't  got  excited  and  if  I  hadn't  felt  sorry  for 
you.  But  what  does  it  matter  to  anybody  if  I'm 
iorry  for  them?     I'm  only  old  Fanny!" 

"Oh,  good  gracious!  How  can  it  matter  to  me 
who's  sorry  for  me  when  I  don't  know  what  they're 
sorry  about  i" 

"You're  so  proud,"  she  quavered,  "and  so  hard! 
I  tell  you  I  didn't  mean  to  speak  of  it  to  you,  and  I 
aever-  never  in  the  world  would  have  told  you  about 
it,  nor  have  made  the  faintest  reference  to  it,  if  I 


hadn't  seen  that  somebody  else  had  told  you,  or 
you'd  found  out  for  yourself  some  way.     I " 

In  despair  of  her  intelligence,  and  in  some  doubt 
of  his  own,  George  struck  the  palms  of  his  hands  to- 
gether. "Somebody  else  had  told  me  what?  I'd 
found  what  out  for  myself.'^" 

"How  people  are  talking  about  your  mother." 

Except  for  the  incidental  teariness  of  her  voice,  her 
tone  was  casual,  as  though  she  mentioned  a  subject 
previously  discussed  and  imderstood;  for  Fanny  had 
no  doubt  that  George  had  only  pretended  to  be  mys- 
tified because,  in  his  pride,  he  would  not  in  words 
admit  that  he  knew  what  he  knew. 

"What  did  you  say? "  he  asked  incredulously. 

"Of  course  I  understood  what  you  were  doing/* 
Fanny  went  on,  drying  her  handkerchief  again. 
"It  puzzled  other  people  when  you  began  to  be  rude 
to  Eugene,  because  they  couldn't  see  how  you  could 
treat  him  as  you  did  when  you  were  so  interested  in 
Lucy.  But  I  remembered  how  you  came  to  me,  that 
other  time  when  there  was  so  much  talk  about 
Isabel;  and  I  knew  you'd  give  Lucy  up  in  a  minute, 
if  it  came  to  a  question  of  your  mother's  reputation, 
because  you  said  then  that " 

"Look  here/'  George  interrupted  in  a  shaking 


iToice.  "Look  here,  I'd  like "  He  stopped,  un- 
able to  go  on,  his  agitation  was  so  great.  His  chest 
heaved  as  from  hard  running,  and  his  complexion, 
pallid  at  first,  had  become  mottled;  fiery  splotches 
appearing  at  his  temples  and  cheeks.  "What  do 
you  mean  by  telling  me — telling  me  there's  talk 

about — about "     He  gulped,  and  began  again-: 

**  What  do  you  mean  by  using  such  words  as  *reputa- 
tion'?  What  do  you  mean,  speaking  of  a  ^question' 
of  my — my  mother's  reputation?" 

Fanny  looked  up  at  him  woefully  over  the  hand- 
kerchief which  she  now  applied  to  her  reddened  nose. 
"God  knows  I'm  sorry  for  you,  George,"  she  mur- 
mured. "I  wanted  to  say  so,  but  it's  only  old 
Fanny,  so  whatever  she  says — even  when  it's 
sympathy — pick  on  her  for  it !  Hammer  her ! "  She 
sobbed.  "Hammer  her!  It's  only  poor  old  lonely 

"You  look  here!"  George  said  harshly.  "When 
I  spoke  to  my  Uncle  George  after  that  rotten  thing  I 
heard  Aunt  Amelia  say  about  my  mother,  he  said 
if  there  was  any  gossip  it  was  about  you  I  He  said 
people  might  be  laughing  about  the  way  you  ran 
after  Morgan,  but  that  was  all." 

Fanny  lifted  her  hands,  clenched  them,  and  struck 



them  upon  her  knees.  "Yes;  it's  always  Fanny!" 
she  sobbed.  "Ridiculous  old  Fanny — ^always,  al- 

"You  listen!"  George  said.  "After  Td  talked  to 
Untile  George  I  saw  you;  and  you  said  I  had  a  mean 
little  mind  for  thinking  there  might  be  truth  in  what 
Aunt  Amelia  said  about  people  talking.  You  denied 
it.  And  that  wasn't  the  only  time;  you'd  attacked 
me  before  then,  because  I  intimated  that  Morgan 
might  be  coming  here  too  often.  You  made  me  be- 
lieve that  mother  let  him  come  entirely  on  your 
account,  and  now  you  say " 

"I  think  he  did,"  Fanny  interrupted  desolately. 
"I  think  he  did  come  as  much  to  see  me  as  anything 
— ^for  a  while  it  looked  like  it.  Anyhow,  he  liked  to 
dance  with  me.  He  danced  with  me  as  much  as  he 
danced  with  her,  and  he  acted  as  if  he  came  on  my 
account  at  least  as  much  as  he  did  on  hers.  He 
did  act  a  good  deal  that  way — and  if  Wilbur  hadn't 
died " 

"You  told  me  there  wasnH  any  talk." 
"I  didn't  think  there  was  much,  then,"  Fanny 
protested.     **/  didn't  know  how  much  there  was/* 
"People  don't  come  and  tell  such  things  to  a 


i>ers(Mi's  family,  you  know.  You  don't  suppose  any- 
body was  going  to  say  to  George  Amberson  that  his 
sister  was  getting  herself  talked  about,  do  you? 
Or  that  they  were  going  to  say  much  to  me?*^ 

** You  told  me," said  George,  fiercely,  "that  mother 
never  saw  him  except  when  she  was  chaperoning 

"They  weren't  much  alone  together,  then,"  Fanny 
i-etumed.  "Hardly  ever,  before  Wilbur  died.  But 
you  don't  suppose  that  stops  people  from  talking,  do 
iou?  Your  father  never  went  anywhere,  and  people 
saw  Eugene  with  her  everywhere  she  went — and 
though  I  was  with  them  people  just  thought" — she 
choked — "they  just  thought  I  didn't  count!  *Only 
old  Fanny  Minafer,'  I  suppose  they'd  say!  Besides, 
everybody  knew  that  he'd  been  engaged  to  her '* 

"TSTiat's  that?"  George  cried. 

"Everybody  knows  it.  Don't  you  remember 
your  grandfather  speaking  of  it  at  the  Sunday 
dinner  one  night?  " 

"He  didn't  say  they  were  engaged  or " 

"Well,  they  were!  Everybody  knows  it;  and  she 
broke  it  off  on  account  of  that  serenade  when  Eu- 
gene didn't  know  what  he  was  doing.  He  drank 
^hen    he    was    a   young   man,    and    she:   wouldn*t 


stand  it»  but  everybody  .in  this  town  knows  that 
Isabel  has  never  really  cared  for  any  other  man  in 
her  life!  Poor  Wilbur!  He  was  the  only  soul  alive 
that  didn't  know  it!" 

Nightmare  had  descended  upon  the  unfortunate 
George;  he  leaned  back  against  the  foot-board  of 
his  bed,  gazing  wildly  at  his  aunt.  "I  believe 
I'm  going  crazy,"  he  said.  "You  mean  when  you 
told  me  there  wasn't  any  talk,  you  told  me  a  false- 

"No!"  Fanny  gasped. 

"You  did!" 

"  I  tell  you  1  didn't  know  how  much  talk  there  waSr 
and  it  wouldn't  have  amounted  to  much  if  Wilbur 
had  lived."  And  Fanny  completed  this  with  a 
fatal  admission:     "I  didn't  want  you  to  interfere." 

George  cTverlooked  the  admission;  his  mind  was 
not  now  occupied  with  analysis.  "What  do  you 
mean,"  he  asked,  "  when  you  say  that  if  father  had 
lived,  the  talk  wouldn't  have  amounted  to  any- 

"Things  might  have  been — they  might  have  been 

"You  mean  Morgan  might  have  married  youf" 

Fanny   gulped.     "No.    Because    I   don't   know 


that  I'd  hp,ve  accepted  him."  She  had  ceased  to 
weep,  and  now  she  sat  up  stiflBly.  "I  certainly 
didn't  care  enough  about  him  to  marry  him;  I 
wouldn't  have  let  myself  care  that  much  until  he 
showed  that  he  wished  to  marry  me.  I'm  not  that 
sort  of  person ! "  The  poor  lady  paid  her  vanity 
this  piteous  little  tribute.  "What  I  mean  is,  if 
Wilbur  hadn't  died,  people  wouldn't  have  had  it 
proved  before  their  very  eyes  that  what  they'd  been 
talking  about  was  true!" 

"You   say — you   say   that   people   believe " 

George  shuddered,  then  forced  himself  to  continue, 
in  a  sick  voice:     "They  believe  my  mother  is — is  in 
love  with  that  man?" 
Of  course!" 

And  because  he  comes  here — and  they  see  her 
with  him  driving — and  all  that — they  think  they 
were  right  when  they  said  she  was  in — ^in  love  with 
him  before-before  my  father  died?" 

She  looked  at  him  gravely  with  her  eyes  now  dry 
between  their  reddened  lids.  "Why,  George,"  she 
said,  gently,,  "don't  you  know  that's  what  they  say? 
You  must  know  that  everybody  in  town  thinks 
they're  going  to  be  married  very  soon." 

George  uttered  an  incoherent  cry;  and  sections  of 




him  appeared  to  writhe.    He  was  upon  the  verge 
of  actual  nausea. 

"You  know  it!*'  Fanny  cried,  getting  up.  "You 
don't  think  I'd  have  spoken  of  it  to  you  unless  I  was 
sure  you  knew  it?"  Her  voice  was  wholly  genuine, 
as  it  had  been  throughout  the  wretched  interview 
Fanny's  sincerity  was  unquestionable.  "George,  / 
wouldn't  have  told  you,  if  you  didn't  know.  What 
other  reason  could  you  have  for  treating  Eugene  as 
you  did,  or  for  refusing  to  speak  to  them  like  that^ 
a  while  ago  in  the  yard?    Somebody  must  have  told 

"Who  told  2^01^.?"  he  said. 


"Who  told  you  there  was  talk?  Where  is  this 
talk?     Where  does  it  come  from?     Who  does  it?" 

"Why,  I  suppose  pretty  much  everybody,"  she 
said.     "I  know  it  must  be  pretty  general." 

"Who  said  so?" 


George  stepped  close  to  her.  "You  say  people 
don't  speak  to  a  person  of  gossip  about  that  person's 
family.  Well,  how  did  you  hear  it,  then?  How  did 
you  get  hold  of  it?     Answer  me!" 

Fanny  looked  thoughtful.     "Well,  of  course  no* 

"TTin-^*^ 1 ^t  zm,  m,^ :— ^_.  -X  ^11  a » 


body  not  one*s  most  intimate  friends  would  speak 
to  them  about  such  things,  and  then  only  in  the  kind- 
est»  most  considerate  way.' 

Who's  spoken  of  it  to  you  in  any  way  at  all? 
George  demanded. 

"Why "  Fanny  hesitated. 

*  *  You  answer  me ! ' ' 

"I  hardly  think  it  would  be  fair  lo  give  names.'* 

"Look  here/'  said  George.  "One  of  your  most 
intimate  friends  is  that  mother  of  Charlie  Johnson's, 
for  instance.  Has  she  ever  mentioned  this  to  you? 
You  say  everybody  is  talking.     Is  she  one?  " 

"Oh,  she  may  have  intimated " 

"I'm  asking  you:  Has  she  ever  spoken  of  it  to 


"She's  a  very  kind,  discreet  woman,  George;  but 
^e  may  have  intimated " 

George  had  a  sudden  intuition,  as  there  flickered 
into  his  mind  the  picture  of  a  street-crossing  and  two 
absorbed  ladies  almost  run  down  by  a  fast  horse. 
"You  and  she  have  been  talking  about  it  to-day!'* 
he  cried.  "You  were  talking  about  it  with  her  not 
two  hours  ago.    Do  you  deny  it?" 

"Do  you  deny  it?" 



"All  right,"  said  George.     "That's  enough!" 

She  caught  at  his  arm  as  he  turned  away.  "What 
are  you  going  to  do,  George?" 

"I'll  not  talk  about  it,  now,"  he  said  heavily. 
"I  think  youVe  done  a  good  deal  for  one  day. 
Aunt  Fanny!'* 

And  Fanny,  seeing  the  passion  in  his  face»  began 
to  be  alarmed.  She  tried  to  retain  possession  of 
the  black  velvet  sleeve  which  her  fingers  had  clutched, 
and  he  suffered  her  to  do  so,  but  used  this  leverage 
to  urge  her  to  the  door.  "George,  you  know  I*m 
sorry  for  you,  whether  you  care  or  not,"  she  whim- 
pered. "I  never  in  the  world  would  have  spoken 
of  it,  if  I  hadn't  thought  you  knew  all  about  it.  I 
wouldn't  have " 

But  he  had  opened  the  door  with  his  free  hand 
"Never  mind!"  he  said,  and  she  was  obliged  to  pass 
out  into  the  hall,  the  door  closing  quickly  behind  her" 


GEORGE  took  oflF  his  dressing-gown  and  put 
on  a  collar  and  a  tie,  his  fingers  shaking  so 
that  the  tie  was  not  his  usual  success;  then 
he  picked  up  his  coat  and  waistcoat,  and  left  the 
room  while  still  in  process  of  donning  them,  fastening 
the  buttons  as  he  ran  down  the  front  stairs  to  the 
door.  It  was  not  until  he  reached  the  middle  of  the 
street  that  he  realized  that  he  had  forgotten  his  hat; 
and  he  paused  for  an  irresolute  moment,  during  which 
his  eye  wandered,  for  no  reason,  to  the  Foimtain 
of  Neptune.  This  castiron  replica  of  too  elaborate 
sculpture  stood  at  the  next  corner,  where  the  Major 


had  placed  it  when  the  Addition  was  laid  out  so 

long  ago.    The  street  comers  had  been  shaped  to 

conform  with  the  great  octagonal  basin,  which  was 

no  great  inconvenience  for  horse-drawn  vehicles,  but 

a  nuisance  to  speeding  automobiles ;  and,  even  as 

George  looked,  one  of  the  latter,  coming  too  fast, 

saved  itself  only  by  a  dangerous  skid  as  it  rounded 

ite  fountain.    This  skid  was  to  George's  liking, 



though  he  would  have  been  more  pleased  to  see 
the  car  go  over,  for  he  was  wishing  grief  and  destruc* 
tion,  just  then,  upon  all  the  automobiles  in  the 

His  eyes  rested  a  second  or  two  longer  upon  the 
Fountain  of  Neptune,  not  an  enlivening  sight  even 
in  the  shielding  haze  of  autumn  twilight.  For  more 
than  a  year  no  water  had  run  in  the  fountain:  the 
connections  had  been  broken,  and  the  Major  was 
evasive  about  restorations,  even  when  reminded  by 
his  grandson  that  a  dry  fountain  is  as  gay  as  a 
dry  fish.  Soot  streaks  and  a  thousand  pits  gave 
Neptime  the  distinction,  at  least,  of  leprosy,  which 
the  mermaids  associated  with  him  had  been  con- 
sistent in  catching;  and  his  trident  had  been  so 
deeply  aflPected  as  to  drop  its  prongs.  Altogether, 
this  heavy  work  of  heavy  art,  smoked  dry,  hugely 
scabbed,  cracked,  and  crumbling,  was  a  dismal  sight 
to  the  distracted  eye  of  George  Amberson  Minafer, 
and  its  present  condition  of  craziness  may  have  added 
a  mite  to  his  own.  His  own  was  sufficient,  with  no 
additions,  however,  as  he  stood  looking  at  the  Johii- 
sons'  house  and  those  houses  on  both  sides  of  it — 
that  row  of  riflPraflF  dwellings  he  had  thought  sc 
damnable,  the  day  when  he  stood  in  his  grandfather's 


yard,  staring  at  them,  after  hearing  what  his  Aunt 
Amelia  said  of  the  ""talk"  about  his. mother. 

Ke  decided  that  he  needed  no  hat  for  the  sort  of 
call  he  intended  to  make»  and  went  forward  hur« 
riedly.  Mrs.  Johnson  was  at  home,  the  Irish  girl 
who  came  to  the  door  informed  him,  and  he  was  left 
to  await  the  lady,  in  a  room  like  an  elegant  well — 
the  Johnsons'  "reception  room":  floor  space,  nothing 
to  mention;  walls,  blue  calcimined;  ceiling,  twelve 
feet  from  the  floor;  inside  shutters  and  gray  lace 
curtains;  five  gilt  chairs,  a  brocaded  sofa,  soiled,  and 
an  inlaid  walnut  table,  supporting  two  tall  alabaster 
\rases;  a  palm,  with  two  leaves,  dying  in  a  comer. 

Mrs.  Johnson  came  in,  breathing  noticeably;  and 
iier.  round  head,  smoothly  but  economically  decorated 
with  the  hair  of  an  honest  woman,  seemed  to  be  lin- 
gering far  in  the  background  of  the  Alpine  bosom 
which  took  precedence  of  the  rest  of  her  everywhere; 
but  when  she  was  all  in  the  room,  it  was  to  be  seen 
that  her  breathing  was  the  result  of  hospitable  haste 
to  greet  the  visitor,  and  her  hand,  not  so  dry  as 
Neptune's  Fountain,  suggested  that  she  had  paused 
for  only  the  briefest  ablutions.  George  accepted 
this  cold,,  damp  lump  mechanically. 

'Mr.    Amberson — I    mean    Mr.    Minafer!"    ak^ 


exclaimed.  ^'I'm  really  delighted:  I  understood 
you  asked  for  me.  Mr.  Johnson's  out  of  the  city,  but 
Charlie's  downtown  and  I'm  looking  for  him  at  any 
minute,  now,  and  he'll  be  so  pleased  that  you " 

"I  didn't  want  to  see  Charlie,"  George  said.  "I 
want " 

"Do  sit  down,"  the  hospitable  lady  urged  him, 
seating  herself  upon  the  sofa.     "Do  sit  down." 

"No,  I  thank  you.     I  wish " 

"Surely  you're  not  going  to  nm  away  again, 
when  you've  just  come.  Do  sit  down,  Mr.  Mina- 
fer.  I  hope  you're  all  well  at  your  house  and  at 
the  dear  old  Major's,  too.     He's  looking " 

"Mrs.  Johnson"  George  said,  in  a  strained  loud 
voice  which  arrested  her  attention  immediately,  so 
that  she  was  abruptly  silent,  leaving  her  surprised 
mouth  open.  She  had  already  been  concealing  some 
astonishment  at  this  unexampled  visit,  however,  and 
the  condition  of  George's  ordinarily  smooth  hair 
(for  he  had  overlooked  more  than  his  hat)  had  not 
alleviated  her  perplexity.  "Mrs.  Johnson,"  he 
said,  "I  have  come  to  ask  you  a  few  questions  which 
I  would  like  you  to  answer,  if  you  please." 

She  became  grave  at  once.  "  Certainly,  Mr.  Mina^ 
fer.    Any  thing  I  can " 


He  interrupted  sternly,  yet  his  voice  shook  in  spite 
of  its  sternness,  "You  were  talking  with  my  Aunt 
Fanny  about  my  mother  this  afternoon." 

At  this  Mrs.  Johnson  uttered  an  involuntary 
gasp,  but  she  recovered  herself.  "Then  I'm  sure 
our  conversation  was  a  very  pleasant  one,  if  we 
were  talking  of  your  mother,  because- " 

Again  he  interrupted.  "My  aunt  has  told  me 
what  the  conversation  virtuaUy  was,  and  I  don't 
mean  to  waste  any  time,  Mrs.  Johnson.     You  were 

talking  about  a "  George's  shoulders  suddenly 

heaved  uncontrollably;  but  he  went  fiercely  on: 
"You  were  discussing  a  scandal  that  involved  my 
mother's  name." 

"Mr.  Minafer!" 

"Isn't  that  the  truth?" 

"  I  don't  feel  called  upon  to  answer,  Mr.  Mina^ 
fer,"  she  said  with  visible  agitation.  "I  do  not 
consider  that  you  have  any  right " 

"My  aunt  told  me  you  repeated  this  scandal  to 

"I  don't  think  your  aunt  can  have  said  that,"  Mrs. 
Johnson  returned  sharply.  "I  did  not  repeat  a 
Scandal  of  any  kind  to  your  aunt  and  I  think  you 
are  mistaken  in  saying  she  told  you  I  did.     We  may 


have  discussed  some  matters  that  have  been  a  topic 
of  comment  about  town '* 

"Yes!"  George  cried.  "I  think  you  may  have* 
That's  what  I'm  here  about,  and  what  I  intend 
to " 

"Don't  tell  me  what  you  intend,  please,"  Mrs. 
Johnson  interrupted  crisply.  "And  I  should  prefer 
that  you  would  not  make  your  voice  quite  so  loud  in 
this  house,  which  I  happen  to  own.  Your  aunt  may 
have  told  you — though  I  think  it  would  have  been 
very  unwise  in  her  if  she  did,  and  not  very  consider- 
ate of  me — she  may  have  told  you  that  we  discussed 
some  such  topic  as  I  have  mentioned,  and  possibly 
that  would  have  been  true.  If  I  talked  it  over 
with  her,  you  may  be  sure  I  spoke  in  the  most  charit- 
able spirit,  and  without  sharing  in  other  people's  dis- 
position to  put  an  evil  interpretation  on  what  may 
be  nothing  more  than  unfortunate  appearances 
and " 

"My  God!"  said  George.     "I  can't  stand  this!" 

"You  have  the  option  of  dropping  the  subject,'* 
Mrs.  Johnson  suggested  tartly,  and  she  added: 
"Or  of  leaving  the  house." 

"  I'll  do  that  soon  enough,  but  first  I  mean  to 
know " 


"I  am  perfectly  willing  to  tell  you  anytlimg  you 
wish  if  you  will  remember  to  ask  it  quietly.  I'll 
also  take  the  liberty  of  reininding  you  that  I  had  a 
perfect  right  to  discuss  the  subject  with  your  aunt. 
Other  people  may  be  less  considerate  in  not  confining 
their  discussion  of  it,  as  I  have,  to  charitable  views 
expressed  only  to  a  member  of  the  family.  Other 
people '^ 

"Other  people!'*  the  unhappy  George  repeated 
viciously.  "That's  what  I  want  to  know,  about 
—these  other  people!" 

"I  beg  your  pardon." 

'I  want  to  ask  you  about  them.  You  say  y©u 
know  of  other  people  who  talk  about  this." 

"I  presume  they  do." 
.    "How  many?" 


"I  want  to  know  how  many  other  people  talk 
about  it?" 

"Dear,  dear!"  she  protested.  "How  should  I 
know  that?" 

"Haven't  you  heard  anybody  mention  it?" 

"I  presume  so." 

"Well,  how  many  have  you  heard?" 

Mrs.  Johnson  was  becoming  more  annoyed  than 


apprehensive,  and  she  showed  it.  ^'Really,  this 
isn*t  a  court-room/*  the  said.  "And  I'm  not  a 
defendant  in  a  libel-suit,  either!" 

The  unfortunate  yoimg  man  lost  what  remained 
of  his  balance.  "You  may  be!"  he  cried.  "1  m- 
tend  to  know  just  who's  dared  to  say  these  things,  if 
I  have  to  force  my  way  into  every  house  in  town,  and 
I*m  going  to  make  them  take  every  word  of  it  back ! 
I  mean  to  know  the  name  of  every  slanderer  that*« 
spoken  of  this  matter  to  you  and  of  every  tattler 
you*  ve  passed  it  on  to  yourself.    I  mean  to  know " 

"You'll  know  something  pretty  quick!"  she  said, 
rising  with  diflSculty;  and  her  voice  was  thick  with 
the  sense  of  insult.  "You'll  know  that  you're  out 
in  the  street.     Please  to  leave  my  house!" 

George  stiflFened  sharply.  Then  he  bowed,  and 
strode  out  of  the  door. 

Three  minutes  later,  dishevelled  and  perspiringi 
but  cold  all  over,  he  burst  into  his  Uncle  George'* 
room  at  the  Major's  without  knocking.  Amberson 
was  dressing. 

"  Good  gracious,  Georgie ! "  he  exclaimed.  "  What's 

"I've  just  come  from  Mrs.  Johnson's — ^across  the. 
street,"  George  panted. 


"You  have  your  own  tastes!"  was  Amberson's 
comment.  "But  curious  as  they  are,  you  ought  to 
do  something  better  with  your  hair,  and  button  your 
waistcoat  to  the  right  buttons — even  for  Mrs.  John- 
son !    What  were  you  doing  over  there?  '* 

"She  told  me  to  leave  the  house,"  George  said 
desperately.  "I  went  there  because  Aunt  Fanny 
told  me  the  whole  town  was  talking  about  my  mother 
and  that  man  Morgan — that  they  say  my  mother  is 
going  to  marry  him  and  that  proves  she  was  too 
fond  of  him  before  my  father  died — she  said  this 
Mrs.  Johnson  was  one  that  talked  about  it,  and  I 
went  to  her  to  ask  who  were  the  others." 

Amberson*s  jaw  fell  in  dismay.  "Don't  tell  me 
you  did  that!"  he  said,  in  a  low  voice;  and  then, 
seeing  that  it  was  true,  "Oh,  now  you  have  done  it!" 


I'VE  'done  it*?"  George  cried.  "What  do  you 
mean:  I've  done  it?  And  what  have  I 

Amberson  had  collapsed  into  an  easy  chair  beside 
his  dressing-table,  the  white  evening  tie  he  had  been 
about  to  put  on  dangling  from  his  hand,  which  had 
fallen  limply  on  the  arm  of  the  chair.  The  tie  dropped 
to  the  lloor  before  he  replied;  and  the  hand  that 
had  held  it  was  Sf ted  to  stroke  his  graying  hair  reflec- 
tively. "By  Jove!"  he  muttered.  "That  is  too 

George  folded  his  arms  bitterly.  '*  Will  you  kindly 
answer  my  question?  What  have  I  done  that  wasn't 
honourable  and  right?  Do  you  think  these  riffraflf 
can  go  about  bandying  my  mother's  name " 

"They  can  now,"  said  Amberson.  "I  don't 
know  if  they  could  before,  but  they  certainly  can 

"What  do  you  mean  by  that?" 

His  imcle  sighed  profoundly,  picked  up  his  tie« 



and,  preoccupied  with  despondency,  twisted  the 
strip ;  of  white  lawn  till  it  became  un wearable. 
Meanwhile,  he  tried  to  enlighten  his  nephew. 
"Gossip  is  never  fatal,  Georgie,"  he  said,  "until  it  is 
denied.  Gossip  goes  on  about  every  human  being 
alive  and  about  all  the  dead  that  are  alive  enough  to 
be  remembered,  and  yet  almost  never  does  any 
harm  until  some  defender  makes  a  controversy. 
Gossip's  a  nasty  thing,  but  it's  sickly,  and  if  people 
of  good  intentions  will  let  it  entirely  alone,  it  will 
die,  ninety-nine  times  out  of  a  hundred." 

"See  here,"  George  said:  "I  didn't  come  to  listen 
to    any    generalizing    dose    of   philosophy!    I    ask 

you " 

"You  asked  me  what  yeu've  done,  and  I'm  telling 
you."  Amberson  gave  him  a  melancholy  smile, 
continuing:  "Suflfer  me  to  do  it  in  my  own  way. 
Fanny  says  there's  been  talk  about  your  mother, 
/and  that  Mrs.  Johnson  does  some  of  it.  I  don't 
know,  because  naturally  nobody  would  come  to  me 
with  such  stuflF  or  mention  it  before  me;  but  it's 
presumably  true — I  suppose  it  is.  I've  seen  Fanny 
with  Mrs.  Johnson  quite  a  lot;  and  that  old  lady  is  a 
notorious  gossip,  and  that's  why  she  ordered  you  out 
of  her  house  when  you  pinned  her  down  that  she'd 


"I  suppose  you  thinli  I  mean  to  let  my  mother's 
good  name " 

"Your  mother's  good  name!"  Amberson  cut 
him  off  impatiently.  "Nobody  has  a  good  name  in 
a  bad  mouth.  Nobody  has  a  good  name  in  a  silly 
mouth,  either.  Well,  your  mother's  name  was  in 
some  silly  mouths,  and  all  you've  done  was  to  go 
and  have  a  scene  with  the  worst  old  woman  gossip 
in  the  town — a  scene  that's  going  to  make  her  into 
a  partisan  against  your  mother,  whereas  she  was  a 
mere  prattler  before.  Don't  you  suppose  she'll  be 
all  over  town  with  this  to-morrow?  To-morrow? 
Why,  she'll  have  her  telephone  going  to-night  as 
long  as  any  of  her  friends  are  up!  People  that 
never  heard  anything  about  this  are  going  to  hear 
it  all  now,  with  embellishments.  And  she'll  see  to  it 
that  everybody  who's  hinted  anything  about  poor 
Isabel  will  know  that  you're  on  the  warpath;  and 
that  will  put  them  on  the  defensive  and  make  them 
vicious.     The  story  will  grow  as  it  spreads  and " 

George  unfolded  his  arms  to  strike  his  right  fist  in- 
to his  left  palm.  "But  do  you  suppose  I'm  going  to 
tolerate  such  things?"  he  shouted.  "What  do  you 
suppose  ril  be  doing?" 

"Nothing  helpful." 




Oh,  you  think  so,  do  you?" 
You  can  do  absolutely  nothing,"  said  Amberson. 
"Nothing  of  any  use.     The  more  you  do  the  more 
harm  you'll  do." 

"You'll  see!  I'm  going  to  stop  this  thing  if  I 
have  to  force  my  way  into  every  house  on  National 
Avenue  and  Amberson  Boulevard!'* 

His  imcle  laughed  rather  sourly,  but  made  no 
other  comment. 

"Well,  what  do  you  propose  to  do?"  George  de- 
manded.    "Do  you  propose  to  sit  there " 


" — and  let  this  riffraff  bandy  my  mother's  good 

name  back  and  forth  among  them?     Is  that  what 
you  propose  to  do?" 

"It's  all  I  can  do,"  Amberson  returned.  "It's  all 
any  of  us  can  do  now:  just  sit  still  and  hope  that  the 
thing  may  die  down  in  time,  in  spite  of  your  stirring 
up  that  awful  old  woman." 

George  drew  a  long  breath,  then  advanced  and 
stood  close  before  his  uncle.  "Didn't  you  under- 
stand me  when  I  told  you  that  people  are  saying  my 
mother  means  to  marry  this  man?"   • 

"Yes,  I  understood  you." 
-  **You  say  that  my  going  over  there  has  made 


matters  worse,"  George  went  on.  "How  about  it 
if  such  a — such  an  unspeakable  marriage  did  take 
place?  Do  you  think  that  would  make  people  be- 
lieve they'd  been  wrong  in  saying — you  know  what 
they  say." 

"No,"  said  Amberson  deliberately;  "I  don't  be- 
lieve it  would.  There'd  be  more  badness  in  the  bad 
mouths  and  more  silliness  in  the  silly  mouths,  I  dare 
say.  But  it  wouldn't  hurt  Isabel  and  Eugene,  if 
they  never  heard  of  it;  and  if  they  did  hear  of  it, 
then  they  could  take  their  choice  between  placating 
gossip  or  living  for  their  own  happiness.  If  they 
have  decided  to  marry " 

George  almost  staggered.  "  Good  God ! "  he  gasped. 
"You  speak  of  it  calmly!" 

Amberson  looked  up  at  him  inquiringly.  "Why 
shouldn't  they  marry  if  they  want  to?"  he  asked. 
"It's  then-  own  affair." 

"Why  shouldn't  they?"  George  echoed.  "Why 
shouldn't  they?" 

"Yes.  Why  shouldn't  they?  I  don't  see  any- 
thing precisely  monstrous  about  two  people  getting 
married  when  they're  both  free  and  care  about  each 
other.     What's  the  matter  with  their  niarrying?  " 

"It    would     be    monstrous!"    George    shouted* 


**  Monstrous  even  if  this  horrible  thing  hadn't 
happened,  but  now  in  the  face  of  this — oh,  that  you 
can  sit  there  and  even  speak  of  it!    Your  own  sister! 

O  Crod !    Oh "    He  became  incoherent,  swinging 

away  from  Amberson  and  making  for  the  door, 
wUdly  gesturing. 

"For  heaven's  sake,  don't  be  so  theatrical!"  said 
his  uncle,  and  then,  seeing  that  George  was  leaving 
the  room:  "Come  back  here.  You  mustn't  speak 
to  your  mother  of  this!" 

"Don't  'tend  to,"  George  said  indistinctly;  and 
he  plimged  out  into  the  big  dimly  lit  hall.  He 
passed  his  grandfather's  room  on  the  way  to  the 
stairs;  and  the  Major  was  visible  within,  his  white 
head  brightly  illumined  by  a  lamp,  as  he  bent  low 
over  a  ledger  upon  his  roll-top  desk.  He  did  not 
look  up,  and  his  grandson  strode  by  the  door,  not 
really  conscious  of  the  old  figure  stooping  at  its 
tremulous  work  with  long  additions  and  subtract 
tions  that  refused  to  balance  as  they  used  to.  George 
went  home  and  got  a  hat  and  overcoat  without  see- 
ing either  his  mother  or  Fanny..  Then  he  left  word 
that  he  would  be  out  for  dinner,  and  hurried  away 
from  the  house. 

He  walked  the  dark  streets  of  Amberson  Addition 


for  an  hour,  then  went  downtown  and  got  coffee  at 
a  restaurant.  After  that  he  walked  through  the 
lighted  parts  of  the  town  until  ten  o'dock,  when  he 
turned  north  and  came  back  to  the  purlieus  of  the 
Addition.  He  strode  through  the  length  and 
breadth  of  it  again,  his  hat  pulled  doWn  over  his  fore- 
head, his  overcoat  collar  turned  up  behind.  He 
walked  fiercely,  though  his  feet  ached,  but  by  and 
by  he  turned  homeward,  and,  when  he  reached  the 
Major's,  went  in  and  sat  upon  the  steps  of  the  huge 
stone  veranda,  in  front — an  obscure  figure  in  that 
lonely  and  repeUent  place.  All  lights  were  out  at  die 
Major's,  and  finally,  after  twelve,  he  saw  his  mother's 
window  darken  at  home. 

He  waited  half  an  hour  longer,  then  crossed  the 
front  yards  of  the  new  houses  and  let  himself  nbise- 
lessly  in  the  front  door.     The  Ught  in  the  hall  had 

been  left  burning,  and  another  in  his  own  room,  as 


he  discovered  when  he  got  there.     He  locked  the 
door  quickly  and  without  noise»  but  his  fingers  were 
still  upon  the  key  when  there  was  a  quick  footfall  in 
the  hall  outside. 
.  "Georgie,  dear?'.' 

He  went  to  the  other  end  of  the  room  before 
replying.  ' 



"I'd  been  wondering  where  you  were,  dear." 

"Had  you?" 

There  was  a  pause ;  then  she  said  timidly :  "  Wher- 
ever it  was,  I  hope  you  had  a  pleasant  evening." 

After  a  silence,  "Thank  you,"  he  said,  without 

Another  silence  followed  before  she  spoke  again. 

"You  wouldn't  care  to  be  kissed  good-night,  I 
suppose?"  And  with  a  little  flurry  of  placative 
laughter,  she  added:     "At  your  age,  of  course!" 

"I'm  going  to  bed,  now,"  he  said.  "Good- 

Another  silence  seemed  blanker  than  those  which 
had  preceded  it,  and  finally  her  vcrice  came — it  was 
blank,  too. 

"Good-night."     . 

.  .  .  After  he  was  in  bed  his  thoughts  became 
more  tumultuous  than  ever;  while  among  all  the 
inchoate  and  fragmentary  sketches  of  this  dreadful 
day,  now  rising  before  him,  the  clearest  was  of  his 
imcle  collapsed  in  a  big  chair  with  a  white  tie  dang- 
ling from  his  hand;  and  one  conviction,  following 
upon  that  picture,  became  definite  in  George's  mind : 


that  his  Uncle  George  Amberson  was  a  hopeless 
dreamer  from  whom  no  help  need  be  exi>ectedy  an 
amiable  imbecile  lacking  in  normal  impulses,  and 
wholly  useless  in  a  struggle  which  required  honour 
to  be  defended  by  a  man  of  action. 

Then  would  return  a  vision  of  Mrs.  Johnson's 
furious  roimd  head,  set  behind  her  great  bosom  like 
the  Sim  far  sunk  on  the  horizon  of  a  mountain  plateau 

-and  her  crackling,  asthmatic  voice.  .  .  "With- 
out sharing  in.  other  people's  disposition  to  put  an 
evil  interpretation  on  what  may  be  nothing  more  than 
unfortunate  appearances."  .  .  .  "Other  people 
may  be  less  considerate  in  not  confining  then-  dis- 
cussion of  it,  as  I  have,  to  charitable  views."  .  .  . 
"You'll  know  something  pretty  quick!  You'll  know 
you're  ,out  in  the  street."  .  .  .  And  then 
George  would  get  up  again — and  again — and  pace 
the  floor  in  his  bare  feet. 

That  was  what  the  tormented  young  man  was 
doing  when  daylight  came  gauntly  in  at  his  window 
—pacing  the  floor,  rubbing  his  head  in  his  hands, 
and  muttering: 

"It  can't  be  true:  this  can't  be  happening  to 




BREAKFAST  was  brought  to  him  in  his  room» 
.  as  usual;  but  he  did  not  make  his  normal 
healthy  raid  upon  the  dainty  tray :  the  food 
remained  untouched,  and  he  sustained  himself  upon 
coffee — ^four  cups  of  it,  which  left  nothing  of  value 
inside  the  glistening  little  percolator.  During  this 
process  he  heard  his  mother  being  summoned  to  the 
tel^hone  in  the  hall,  not  far  from  his  door,  and  then 
her  voice  responding :  "Yes?  Oh,  it's  you!  .  .  . 
Indeed  I  should !  .  .  .  Of  course.  .  .  .  Then 
I'll  expect  you  about  three.  .  .  Yes.  .  .  . 
Good-bye  till  then."  A  few  minutes  later  he  heard 
her  speaking  to  someone  beneath  his  window  and, 
looking  out,  saw  her  directing  the  removal  of  plants 
from  a  small  garden  bed  to  the  Major's  conserv- 
atory for  the  winter.  There  was  an  air  of  briskness 
about  her;  as  she  turned  away  to  go  into  the  house, 
she  laughed  gaily  with  the  Major's  gardener  over 
something  he  said,  and  this  unconcerned  cheerfulness 
of  her  was  terrible  to  her  son. 
He  went  to  his  desk,  and,  searching  the  jumbled 



contents  of  a  drawer,  brought  forth  a  large,  unf ramed 
photograph  of  his  father,  upon  which  he  gazed  long 
and  piteously,  till  at  last  hot  tears  stood  in  his  eyes. 
It  was  strange  how  the  inconsequent  face  of  Wilbur 
seemed  to  increase  in  high  significance  during  this 
belated  interview  between  father  and  son;  and  how  it 
seemed  to  take  on  a  reproachful  nobility — ^and  yet, 
under  the  circumstances,  nothing  could  have  been 
more  natural  than  that  George,  having  paid  but  the 
slightest  attention  to  his  father  in  life,  should  begin  to 
deify  him,  now  that  he  was  dead.  "Poor,  poor 
father!"  the  son  whispered  brokenly.  "Poor  man, 
I'm  glad  you  didn't  know!" 

He  wrapped  the  picture  in  a  sheet  of  newspaper, 
put  it  under  his  arm,  and,  leaving  the  house  hur- 
riedly and  stealthily,  went  downtown  to  the  shop  of 
a  silversmith,  where  he  spent  sixty  dollars  on  a 
resplendently  festooned  silver  frame  for  the  picture. 
Having  lunched  upon  more  coffee,  he  returned  to 
the  house  at  two  o'clock,  carrying  the  framed  photo- 
graph with  him,  and  placed  it  upon  the  centre-table 
in  the  library,  the  room  most  used  by  Isabel  and 
Fanny  and  himself .  Then  he  went  to  a  front  win- 
dow of  the  long  "reception  room,"  and  sat  looking 
out  through  the  lace  curtains. 


The  house  was  quiet,  though  once  or  twice  he 
heard  his  mother  and  Fanny  moving  about  upstairs, 
and  a  ripple  of  song  in  the  voice  of  Isabel — a  frag- 
ment from  the  romantic  ballad  of  Lord  Bateman. 

"Lord  Bateman  was  a  noble  lord, 

A  noble  lord  of  high  degree; 
And  he  sailed  West  and  he  sailed  £ast» 

Far  countries  for  to  see.     .     .     ." 

The  words  became  indistinct;  the  air  was  hummed 
absently;  the  humming  shifted  to  a  whistle,  then 
drifted  out  of  hearing,  and  the  place  was  still  again. 

George  looked  often  at  his  watch,  but  his  vigil 
d^'d  not  last  an  hour.  At  ten  minutes  of  three, 
peering  through  the  curtain,  he  saw  an  automobile 
stop  in  front  of  the  house  and  Eugene  Morgan  jump 
lightly  down  from  it.  The  car  was  of  a  new  pattern, 
low  and  long,  with  an  ample  seat  in  the  tonneau, 
facing  forward;  and  a  professional  driver  sat  at 
the  wheel,  a  strange  figure  in  leather,  goggled  out 
of  all  personality  and  seemingly  part  of  the  mechan- 

Eugene  himself,  as  he  came  up  the  cement  path 
to  the  house,  was  a  figure  of  the  new  era  which  was  in 
time  to  be  so  disastrous  to  stiff  hats  and  skirted  coats; 
and  his  appearance  afforded  a  debonair  contrast  t6 


that  of  the  queer-looking  duck  capering  at  the 
Amberson  Ball  in  an  old  dress  coat,  and  next  day 
chugging  up  National  Avenue  through  the  sno\«'  in 
his  nightmare  of  a  sewing-machine.  Eugene,  this 
afternoon,  was  richly  in  the  new  outdoor  mode:  his 
motoring  coat  was  soft  gray  fur;  his  cap  and  gloves 
were  of  gray  suede;  and  though  Lucy's  hand  may 
have  shown  itself  in  the  selection  of  these  high  garni- 
tures, he  wore  them  easily,  even  with  a  becoming 
hint  of  jauntiness.  Some  change  might  be  seen  in 
his  face,  too,  for  a  successful  man  is  seldom  to  be  mis- 
taken, especially  if  his  temper  be  genial.  Eugene 
had  begun  to  look  like  a  millionaire. 

But  above  everything  else,  what  was  most  evi- 
dent about  him,  as  he  came  up  the  path,  was  his 
confidence  in  the  happiness  promised  by  his  present 
errand;  the  anticipation  in  his  eyes  could  have  been 
read  by  a  stranger.  His  look  at  the  door  of  Isabel's 
house  was  the  look  of  a  man  who  is  quite  certain 
that  the  next  moment  will  reveal  something  in- 
effably charming,  inexpressibly  dear. 

.  .  ,  When  the  bell  rang,  George  waited  at  the 
entrance  of  the  "reception  room"  until  a  housemaid 
came  through  the  hall  on  her  way  to  answer  the 


"You  needn't  mind,  Mary,"  he  told  her.  "I'll 
see  who  it  is  and  what  they  want.  Probably  it's 
only  a  pedlar*" 

*•' Thank  you,  sir,  Mister  George,"  said  Mary; 
and  returned  to  the  rear  of  the  house. 

George  went  slowly  to  the  front  door,  and  halted, 
regarding  the  misty  silhouette  of  the  caller  upon  the 
ornamental  frosted  glass.  After  a  minute  of  wait- 
ing, this  silhouette  changed  outline  so  that  an  arm 
could  be  distinguished-^-an  arm  outstretched  toward 
the  bell,  as  if  the  gentleman  outside  doubted  whether 
or  not  it  had  sounded,  and  were  minded  to  try  again. 
But  before  the  gesture  was  completed  George  ab- 
ruptly threw  open  the  door,  and  stepped  squarely 
upon  the  middle  of  the  threshold. 

A  slight  change  shadowed  the  face  of  Eugene; 
his  look  of  happy  anticipation  gave  way  to  something 
formal  and  polite.  "How  do  you  do,  Geoi^e,"  he 
said.  "Mrs.  Minafer  expects  to  go  driving  with 
me,  I  believe — if  you'll  be  so  kind  as  to  send  her  word 
that  I'm  here." 

George  made  not  the  slightest  movement. 

"No,"  he  said. 

Eugene  was  incredulous,  even  when  his  second 
glance  revealed  how  hot  of  eye  was  the  haggard 


young  man  b^re  him.  '^I  beg  your  pardon.  I 
said — -" 

"I  heard  you,"  said  George.  "You  said  you  had 
an  engagement  with  my  mother,  and  I  told  you. 

Eugene  gave  him  a  steady  look,  and  then  he  asked 
quietly:     "What  is  the— the  difficulty?" 

George  kept  his  own  voice  quiet  enough,  but  that 
did  not  mitigate  the  vibrant  fury  of  it.  "My  mother 
will  have  no  interest  in  knowing  that  you  came  for 
her  to-day,"  he  said.     "Or  any  other  day!" 

Eugene  continued  to  look  at  him  with  a  ^scrutiny 
in  which  began  to  gleam  a  profound  anger,  none  the 
less  powerful  because  it  was  so  quiet.  "I  am  afraid 
I  do  not  understand  you." 

"I  doubt  if  I  could  naake  it  much  plainer,"  George 
said,  raising  his  voice  slightly,  "but  I'll  try.  You're 
not  wanted  in  this  house,  Mr.  Morgan,  now  or  at  any 
other  time.     Perhaps  you'll  imderstand — this!" 

And  with  the  last  word  he  closed  the  door  in 
Eugene's  face. 

Then,  not  moving  away,  he  stood  just  inside  the 
door,  and  noted  that  the  misty  silhouette  remained 
upon  the  frosted  glass  for  several  moments,  as  if 
the  forbidden  gentleman  debated  in  bis  mind  what 


course  to  pursue.  ''Let  him  ring  again!"  George 
thought  grimly.  "Or  try  the  side  door — or  the 

But  Eugene  made  no  further  attempt;  the  sil- 
houette disappeared;  footsteps  could  be  heard 
withdrawing  across  the  floor  of  the  veranda;  and 
George,  returning  to  the  window  in  the  "reception 
room,"  was  rewarded  by  the  sight  of  an  automobile 
manufacturer  in  baffled  retreat,  with  all  his  wooing 
furs  and  fineries  mocking  him.  Eugene  got  into 
his  car  slowly,  not  looking  back  at  the  house  which 
had  just  taught  him  such  a  lesson;  and  it  was  easily 
visible — even  from  a  window  seventy  feet  distant — 
that  he  was  not  the  same  light  suitor  who  had 
jumped  so  gallantly  from  the  car  only  a  few  minutes 
earlier.  Observing  the  heaviness  of  his  move- 
ments as  he  climbed  into  the  tonneau,  George  in- 
dulged in  a  sickish  throat  rumble  which  bore  a  dis- 
tant cousinship  to  mirth. 

The  car  was  quicker  than  its  owner;  it  shot  away 
as  soon  as  he  had  sunk  into  his  seat;  and  George, 
haviDg  watched  its  impetuous  disappearance  from 
his  field  of  vision,  ceased  to  haimt  the  window.  He 
went  to  the  library,  and,  seating  himself  beside  the 
table  whereon  he  had  placed  the  photograph  of  his 


father,  picked  up  a  bo<^,  and  pretended  to  be 
gaged  in  reading  it. 

Presently  Isabel's  buoyant  step  was  heard  de- 
scending the  stairs,  and  her  low,  sweet  whistling,  re- 
newing the  air  of  "Lord  Bateman/'  She  came  into 
the  library,  still  whistling  thou^tfully,  a  fur  coat 
over  her  arm,  ready  to  put  on,  and  two  veils  round 
her  small  black  hat,  her  right  hand  engaged  in  but-^ 
toning  the  glove  upon  her  left;  and,  as  the  large  room 
contained  too  many.jneces  of  heavy  furniture,  and  th«s 
inside  shutters  excluded  most  of  the  light  of  day, 
she  did  not  at  once  perceive  Greorge's  presence- 
Instead,  she  went  to  the  bay  window  at  the  end  of 
the  toom,  which  afforded  a  view  of  the  street,  and 
glanced  out  expectantly;  then  bent  her  attention 
upon  her  glove;  after  that,  looked  out  toward  the 
street  again,  ceased  to  whistle,  and  turned  towanl  the 
interior  of  the  roorm. 

"Why,  Georgie!"        ' 

She  came,  leaned  over  from  bdmtd  him,  a&d  there 
was  a  faint,  exquisite  odour  as  from  distaxit  afiple- 
blossoms  as  she  kissed  his  cheek.  "Dear,  I  waited 
lunch  almost  an  hour  for  you,  but  you  didn't  ecme! 


Did  you  lunch  out  somewhere?" 
>;"Yes."    He  did  not  look  up  from  the  book. 


*'Did  yon  have  plenty  to  eat?" 

"Are  you  sure?  Wouldn't  you  like  to  have  Magr 
gie  get  you  something  now  in  the  dining  room?  Ofr 
they  could  bring  it  to  you.  here,  if  you  think  it  would 
be  cosier.    Shan't  I " 


A  tinkling  bell  was  audible,  and  she  moved  to  the 
doorway  into  the  hall.  "  I'm  going  out  driving,  dear. 
I "  She  interrupted  herself  to  address  the  house- 
maid, who  was  passing  through  the  hall:  "I  think 
it's  Mr.  Morgan,  Mary.  Tell  him  I'll  be  there  at 

"Yes,  ma'am." 

Mary  returned.     "  'Twas  a  pedlar,  ma'am." 

*'  Another  one ?"  Isabel  said,  surprised.  "  I  thought 
you  said  it  was  a  pedlar  when  the  bell  rang  a  little 
while  ago." 

"Mister  George  said  it  was,  ma'am;  he  went  to 
the  door,"  Mary  informed  her,  disappearing. 

"There  seem  to  be  a  great  many  of  them,"  Isabel 
mused.     "What  did  yours  want  to  sell,  George?" 
He  didn't  say." 

You  must  have  cut  him  off  short!"  she  laughed; 
and  then,  still  standing  in  the  doorway,  she  noticed' 




the  big  silver  frame  upon  the  table  beside  him. 
"Gracious,  Georgie!"  she  exclaimed.  "You  h(we 
been  investing!"  and  as  she  came  across  the  room 
for  a  closer  view,  "Is  it — is  it  Lucy?"  she  asked  half 
timidly,  half  archly.  But  the  next  instant  she  saw 
Krhose  likeness  was  thus  set  forth  in  elegiac  splendour 
— and  she  was  silent,  except  for  a  long,  just-audible 

He  neither  looked  up  nor  moved. 

"That  was  nice  of  you,  Georgie,"  lAe  said,  in  a 
low  voice  presently.  "I  ought  to  have  had  it 
framed,  myself,  when  I  gave  it  to  you." 

He  said  nothing,  and,  standmg  beside  him,  she 
put  her  hand  gently  upon  his  shoulder,  then  as  gently 
withdrew  it,  and  went  out  of  the  room.  But  she 
did  not  go  upstairs;  he  heard  the  faint  rustle  of  her 
dress  in  the  hall,  and  then  the  soimd  of  her  foot- 
steps in  the  "reception  room."  After  a  time,  silence 
succeeded  even  these  slight  tokens  of  her  presence; 
whereupon  George  rose  and  went  warily  into  the 
hall,  taking  care  to  make  no  noise,  and  he  obtamed 
an  oblique  view  of  her  through  the  open  double  doors 
of  the  "  reception  room."  She  was  sitting  in  the  chair 
which  he  had  occupied  so  long;  and  she  was  looking 
out  of  the  window  expectantly — a  little  troubled- 


He  went  back  to  the  library,  waited  an  intermin- 
able half  hour,  then  returned  noiselessly  to  the  same 
position  in  the  hall,  where  he  could  see  her.  She  was 
still  sitting  patiently  by  the  window. 

Waiting  for  that  man,  was  she?  Well,  it  might 
be  quite  a  long  wait!  And  the  grim  George  silently 
ascended  the  stairs  to  his  own  room,  and  began  to 
pace  his  suffering  floor. 


HE  LEFT  his  door  open,  however,  and  when 
he  heard  the  front  door-bell  rmg,  by  and  by, 
he  went  half  way  down  die  ^airs  and  stood 
to  listen.  He  was  not  much  afraid  that  Morgan 
would  return,  but  he  wished  to  make  sure. 

Mary  appeared  in  the  hall  below  him,  but,  after  a 
glance  toward  the  front  of  the  house,  turned  back, 
and  withdrew.  Evidently  Isabel  had  gone  to  the 
door.  Then  a  murmur  was  heard,  and  George 
Amberson's  voice,  quick  and  serious:  "I  want  to 
talk  to  you,  Isabel"  .  .  .  and  another  murmur; 
then  Isabel  and  her  brother  passed  the  foot  of  the 
broad,  dark  stairway,  but  did  not  look  up,  and 
remained  unconscious  of  the  watchful  presence  above 
them.  Isabel  still  carried  her  cloak  upon  her  arm, 
but  Amberson  had  taken  her  hand,  and  retained  it; 
and  as  he  led  her  silently  into  the  library  there  was 
something  about  her  attitude,  and  the  pose  of  her 
slightly  bend  head,  that  was  both  startled  and  meek. 
Thus  they  quickly  disappeared  from  George's  sight. 


iiand  in  hand;  and  Amberson  at  once  closed  the 
massive  double  doors  of  the  library. 

EcHT  a  time  all  that  George  could  hear  was  the 
indistinct  sound  of  his  uncle's  voice:  what  he  was 
saying  could  not  be  surmised,  though  the  troubled 
brotherliness  of  his  tone  was  evident.  He  seemed  to 
be  explaining  something  at  considerable  length,  and 
there  were  moments  when  he  paused,  and  George 
guessed  that  his  mother  was  speaking,  but  her  voice 
must  have  been  very  low,  for  it  was  entirely  in- 
audible to  him. 

Suddenly  he  did  hear  her.     Through  the  heavy 
doors  her  outcry  came,  clear  and  loud : 
•    "Oh,  no.'" 

It  was  a  cry  of  protest,  as  if  something  her 
brother  told  her  must  be  untrue,  or,  if  it  were  true, 
the  fact  he  stated  must  be  undone;  and  it  was  a 
sound  of  sheer  pain. 

Another  sound  of  pain,  close  to  George,  followed 
it;  this  was  a  vehement  sniffling  which  broke  out 
just  above  him,  and,  looking  up,  he  saw  Fanny 
Minafer  on  the  landing,  leaning  over  the  banisters 
and   applying   her  handkerchief   to  her   eyes   and 

I  can  guess  what  thist  was  about,"  she  whispered 



huskily.  "He's  just  told  her  what  you  did  to 

George  gave  her  a  dark  look  over  his  shoulder. 
"You  go  on  back  to  your  room!"  he  said;  and  he 
began  to  descend  the  stairs;  but  Fanny,  guessing 
his  purpose,  rushed  down  and  caught  his  arm, 
detaining  him. 

"You're  not  going  in  there  F^*  she  whispered 
huskily.    "You  don't " 

"Let  go  of  me!" 

But  she  clung  to  him  savagely.  "Na»  you  don't, 
Georgie  Minafer!  You'll  keep  away  from  there! 
You  will!" 

"You  let  go  of " 

"I  won't!  You  come  back  here!  You'll  come 
upstairs  and  let  them  alone;  that's  what  you'll  do!" 
And  with  such  passionate  determination  did  she 
clutch  and  tug,  never  losing  a  grip  of  him  somewhere, 
though  George  tried  as  much  as  he  could,  without 
hurting  her,  to  wrench  away — with  such  utter  forget- 
fulness  of  her  maiden  dignity  did  she  assault  him,  tha* 
she  forced  him,  stumbling  upward,  to  the  landing. 

"Of  all  the  ridiculous "  he  began  furiously; 

but  she  spared  one  hand  from  its  grasp  of  his  sleeve 
and  clapped  it  over  his  mouth. 


"Hush  up!"  Never  for  an  instant  in  this  gro- 
tesque struggle  did  Fanny  raise  her  voice  above  a 
husky  whisper.  "Hush  up!  It's  indecent — like 
squabbling  outside  the  door  of  an  operating-room  1 
Go  on  to  the  top  of  the  stairs— go  on!'* 

And  when  George  had  most  unwillingly  obeyed,  she 
planted  herself  in  his  way,  on  the  top  step.  "There!** 
she  said.  "The  idea  of  your  going  in  there  now!  I 
never  heard  of  such  a  thing ! "  And  with  the  sudden 
departure  of  the  nervous  vigour  she  had  shown  so 
amazingly,  she  began  to  cry  again.  "I  was  an 
awful  fool!  I  thought  you  knew  what  was  going  on 
or  I  never,  never  would  have  done  it.  Do  you 
suppose  I  dreamed  you'd  go  makmg  everything  into 
such  a  tragedy?    Do  you?" 

"I  don't  care  what  you  dreamed,"  George  mut^ 

But  Fanny  went  on,  always  taking  care  to  keep 
her  voice  from  getting  too  loud,  in  spite  of  her  most 
grievous  agitation.  "Do  you  dream  I  thought 
you'd  go  making  such  a  fool  of  yourself  at  Mrs* 
Johnson's?  Oh,  I  saw  her  this  morning!  She 
wouldn't  talk  to  me,  but  I  met  George  Amberson  on 
my  way  back,  and  he  told  me  what  you'd  done  ovei 
there!    And  do  vou  dream  I  thouc^ht  you'd  do  wha* 


youVe  done  here  this  afternoon  to  Eugene?  Oh, 
I  knew  that,  too!  I  was  looking  out  of  the  front 
bedroom  window,  and  I  saw  him  drive  up,  and  then 
go  away  again,  and  I  knew  youM  been  to  the  door. 
Of  course  he  w«it  to  George  Amberson  about  it, 
and  that's  why  George  is  here.  He's  got  to  tell 
Isabel  the  whole  thing  now,  and  you  wanted  to  go 
in  there  interfering — God  knows  what!  You  stay 
here  and  let  her  brother  tell  her;  he's  got  some 
consideration  for  her!" 

"I  suppose  you  think  I  haven't!"  George  said, 
challenging  her,  and  at  that  Fanny  laughed  wither- 


"  You !    Considerate  of  anybody ! " 

"I'm  considerate  of  her  good  name!"  he  said 
hotly.  "It  seems  to  me  that's  about  the  first  thing 
to  be  considerate  of,  in  beii  g  considerate  of  a  person! 
And  look  here:  it  strikes  me  you're  taking  a  pretty 
different  tack  from  what  you  did  yesterday  aftCT^ 

Fanny  wrung  her  hands.  " I  did  a  terrible  thing!** 
she  lamaited.  "Now  that  it's  done  and  too  late* 
I  know  what  it  was !  I  didn't  have  sense  enough 
jnst  to  let  things  go  on.  I  didn't  have  any  buskiess 
to  interfere,  and  I  didn't  mean  to  interfere — laoly 


wanted  to  talk,  and  let  ottt  a  little!  I  did  think 
you  already  knew  everything  I  told  you.  I  did! 
And  I'd  Father  have  cut  my  hand  off  than  stir  you 
up  to  doing  what  you  have  done!  I  was  just  suffer- 
ing so  that  I  wanted  to  let  out  a  little — I  didn't 
mean  any  real  harm.  But  now  I  see  what's  happened 
— oh,  I  was  a  fool!  I  hadn't  any  business  interfer- 
ing. Eugene  never  would  have  looked  at  me,  any- 
how, and,  oh,  why  couldn't  I  have  seen  that  before! 
He  never  came  here  a  single  time  in  his  Ufe  except 
on  her  account,  never!  and  I  might  have  let  them 
alone,  because  he  wouldn't  have  looked  at  me 
even  if  he'd  never  seen  Isabel.  And  they  haven't 
done  any  harm:  she  made  Wilbur  happy,  and  she 
was  a  true  wife  to  him  as  long  as  he  lived.  It  wasn't 
a  crime  for  her  to  care  for  Eugene  all  the  time;  she 
certainly  never  told  him  she  did— and  she  gave  me 
every  chance  in  the  world!  She  left  us  alone  to- 
gether every  time  she  could — even  since  Wilbur 
died — but  what  was  the  use?  And  here  I  go,  not 
doing  myself  a  bit  of  good  by  it,  and  just" — 
Fanny  wrung  her  hands  again — "just  ruining 

"I  suppose  you  mean  I'm  doing  that,"  George 
said  bitterlv. 




"Yes,  I  do!"  she  sobbed,  and  drooped  upon  the 
stairway  railing,  exhausted. 

"  On  the  contrary,  I  mean  to  save  my  mother  from 
a  calamity." 

Fanny  looked  at  him  wanly,  in  a  tired  despair; 
then  she  stepped  by  him  and  went  slowly  to  her 
own  door,  where  she  paused  and  beckoned  to  him. 

"What  do  you  want?" 
Just  come  here  a  minute." 
What  for?"  he  asked  impatiently. 

"I  just  wanted  to  say  something  to  you." 

"Well,  for  heaven's  sake,  say  it!  There's  nobody 
to  hear."  Nevertheless,  after  a  moment,  as  she 
beckoned  him  again,  he  went  to  her,  profoundly 
annoyed.     "Well,  what  is  it?" 

"George,"  she  said  in  a  low  voice,  "I  think  you 
ought  to  be  told  something.  If  I  were  you,  I'd  let 
my  mother  alone." 

"Oh,  my  Lord!"  he  groaned.  "I'm  doing  these 
things /or  her,  not  against  her!" 

A  mildness  had  come  upon  Fanny,  and  she  had 
controlled  her  weeping.  She  shook  her  head  gently. 
"No,  I'd  let  her  alone  if  I  were  you.  I  don't  think 
she's  very  well,  George." 

"She!    I  never  saw  a  healthier  person  in  my  life/* 


"No.  She  doesn't  let  anybody  know,  but  she 
goes  to  the  doctor  regularly." 

''Women  are  always  going  to  doctors  regularly/' 

"No.    He  told  her  to." 

George  was  not  impressed.  ''It's  nothing  at  all; 
she  spoke  of  it  to  me  years  ago — some  kind  of 
family  failing.  She  said  grandfather  had  it,  too; 
and  look  at  him !  Hasn't  proved  very  serious  with 
him!  You  act  as  if  I'd  done  something  wrong  in 
sending  that  man  about  his  business,  and  as  if  I 
were  going  to  persecute  my  mother,  instead  of 
protecting  her.  By  Jove,  it's  sickening!  You  told 
me  how  all  the  riflFraff  in  town  were  busy  vdth  her 
name,  and  then  the  minute  I  lift  my  hand  to  protect 
her,  you  begin  to  attack  me  and " 

"SA  /"  Fanny  checked  him,  laying  her  hand  on 
his  arm.    "Your  uncle  is  going." 

The  library  doors  were  heard  opening,  and  a 
moment  later .  there  came  the  sound  of  the  front 
door  closing. 

George  moved  toward  the  head  of  the  stairs,  thea 
stood  listening;  but  the  house  was  silent. 

Fanny  made  a  slight  noise  with  her  lips  to  attract 
his  attention,  and,  when  he  glanced  toward  her, 
shook  her  head  at  him  urgently.     "Let  her  alone." 


she  whispered.  "She's  down  there  by  hecsell. 
Don't  go  down.    Let  her  alone." 

She  moved  a  few  steps  toward  him  and  halted» 
her  face  pallid  and  awestruck,  and  then  both  stood 
listening  for  anything  that  might  bi^ak  the  silence 
downstairs.  No  sound  came  to  them;  that  poignant 
silence  was  continued  throughout  long,  long  minutes^ 
while  the  two  listeners  stood  th^e  under  its  mysterious 
spell;, and  in  its  plaintive  eloquence — speaking,  as 
it  did,  of  the  figure  al<me  in  the  big,  dark  library, 
whwe  dead  Wilbur's  new  silver  frame  gieamed  in 
the  dimness — there  was  something  that  checked  even 

Above  the  aunt  and  nephew,  as  they  kept  this 
strange  vigil,  there  was  a  triple  window  of  stained 
glass,  to  illumine  the  landing  and  upper  reaches  of 
the  stairway.  Figures  m  bhie  and  amber  garments 
posed    gracefully    in    panels,    conceived    by    some 


craftsman  of  the  Eighties  to  represent  Love  and 
Purity  and  Beauty,  and  these  figures,  leaded  to 
unalterable  attitudes,  were  little  more  motionless 
than  the  two  human  beings  upon  whom  fell  the 
mottled  faint  light  of  the  window.  The  cokwrs 
were  growing  dull;  evening  was  coming  on. 
Fanny  .Minafer  broke  the  lon^  silence  with  a 


sound  from  her  throat,  a  stifled  gasp;  and  with  that 
great  companion  of  hers,  her  handkerchief,  retired 
softly  to  the  loneliness  of  her  own  chamber.  After 
she  had  gone  George  looked  about  him  bleakly, 
then  on  tiptoe  crossed  the  hall  and  went  into  his 
own  room,  which  was  filled  with  twilight.  StiO 
tiptoeing,  though  he  could  not  have  said  why,  he 
went  across  the  room  and  sat  down  heavily  in  a 
chair  facing  the  window.  Outside  there  was  nothing 
but  the  darkening  air  and  the  wall  of  the  nearest 
of  the  new  houses.  He  had  not  slept  at  all,  the 
night  before,  and  he  had  eaten  nothing  since  the 
prereding  day  at  lunch,  but  he  felt  neither  drowsi- 
ness nor  hunger.  His  set  determination  filled  him, 
kept  him  but  too  wide  awake,  and  his  gaze  at  the 
grayness  beyond  the  window  was  wide-eyed  and 

Darkness  had  closed  in  when  there  was  a  step 
in  the  room  behind  him.  Then  someone  knelt 
beside  the  chair,  two  arms  went  round  him  with 
infinite  compassion,  a  gentle  head  rested  against 
his  shoulder,  and  there  came  the  faint  scent  as  of 
apple-blossoms  far  away. 

"You  mustn't  be  troubled,  darling,"  his  mother 


GEORGE  choked.  For  an  instant  he  was  on 
the  point  of  breaking  down,  but  he  com- 
manded himself,  bravely  dismissing  the 
self-pity  roused  by  her  compassion.  "How  can  I 
help  but  be?"  he  said. 

"No,  no."  She  soothed  him.  "You  mustn't. 
You  mustn't  be  troubled,  no  matter  what  hap- 

"That's  easy  enough  to  say!"  he  protested;  and 
he  moved  as  if  to  rise. 

"Just  let's  stay  like  this  a  little  while,  dear.  Just 
a  minute  or  two.  I  want  to  tell  you:  brother  George 
has  been  here,  and  he  told  me  everything  about — 
about  how  unhappy  you'd  been — and  how  you  went 
so  gallantly  to  that  old  woman  with  the  opera- 
glasses."  Isabel  gave  a  sad  little  laugh.  "What 
a  terrible  old  woman  she  is!  What  a  really  terrible 
thing  a  vulgar  old  woman  can  be!" 

"Mother,  I "    And  again  he  moved  to  rise. 

**Must  you?    It  seemed  to  me  such  a  comfortable 



way  to  talk.    Well '*  She  yielded;  he  rose,  helped 

her  to  her  feet,  and  pressed  the  light  into  being. 

As  the  room  took  life  from  the  sudden  lines  of  fire 
within  the  bulbs  Isabel  made  a  deprecatory  gesture, 
and,  with  a  faint  laugh  of  apologetic  protest,  turned 
quickly  away  from  George.  What  she  meant  was: 
"You  mustn't  see  my  face  imtil  I've  made  it  nicer 
for  you."  Then  she  turned  again  to  him,  her  eyes 
downcast,  but  no  sign  of  tears  in  them,  and  she  con- 
trived to  show  him  that  there  was  the  semblance  of 
a  smile  upon  her  lips.  She  still  wore  her  hat,  and 
in  her  imsteady  fingers  she  held  a  white  envelope, 
somewhat  crumpled. 

"Now,  mother " 

"Wait,  dearest,"  she  said;  and  though  he  stood 
5tone  cold,  she  lifted  her  arms,  put  them  round  him 
again,  and  pressed  her  cheek  lightly  to  his.  "Oh, 
you  do  look  so  troubled,  poor  dear!  One  thing  you 
couldn't  doubt,  beloved  boy :  you  know  I  could  never 
care  for  anything  in  the  world  as  I  care  for  you — 
never,  never!" 

"Now,  mother " 

She  released  him,  and  stepped  back.  "Just  a 
moment  more,  dearest.  I  want  you  to  read  this  first. 
We  can  get  at  things  better."    She  pressed  into  his 


hand  the  envelope  she  had  brought  with  her,  and- 
he  opened  it,  and  began  to  read  the  long  enclosure, 
she  walked  slowly  to  the  other  end  of  the  room;  then 
stood  there,  with  her  back  to  him,  and  her  bead 
dfO€q>ing  a  little,  until  he  had  finished. 

The  sheets  of  paper  were  covered  with  Eug^^ie^^ 

George  Amberk>n  will  bring  you  this,  dear  Isabel.  He  is 
waiting  while  I  write.  He  and  I  have  talked  things  over,  and 
before  he  gives  this  to  you  he  will  tell  you  what  has  happened. 
Of  course  I'm  rather  confused,  and  haven't  had  time  to  think 
matters  out  very  definitely,  and  yet  I  believe  I  shoidd  have  been 
better  prepared  for  what  took  place  to-day — ^I  ought  to  have 
known  it  was  coming,  because  I  have  understood  for  quite  a  long 
time  that  young  George  was  getting  to  dislike  me  more  and  more. 
Somehow,  I've  never  been  able  to  get  his  friendship;  he's  always 
had  a  latent  distrust  of  me — or  something  like  distrust — and 
perhaps  that's  made  me  sometimes  a  little  awkward  and  dif- 
fident with  him.  I  think  it  may  be  he  felt  from  the  first  that  I 
cared  a  great  deal  about  you,  and  he  naturally  resented  it.  I 
think  perhaps  he  felt  this  even  during  all  the  time  when  I  was 
so  careful — at  least  I  thought  I  was — ^not  to  show,  even  to  you, 
how  immensely  I  did  care.  And  he  may  have  feared  that  yoo 
were  thinking  too  much  about  me — even  when  you  weren't  and 
only  liked  me  as  an  old  friend.  It's  perfectly  comprehensible  to 
me,  also,  that  at  his  age  one  gets  excited  about  gossip.  Dear 
Isabel,  what  I'm  trying  to  get  at,  in  my  confused  way,  is  that 
you  and  I  don't  care  about  this  nonsensical  gossip,  ourselves,  at 
all.  Yesterday  I  thought  the  time  had  come  when  I  could  ask 
you  to  marry  me,  and  you  were  dear  enough  to  tell  me  "somp 


time  it  might  oome  to  that."  Well,  you  and  I,  l^t  to  ourselves, 
and  knowing  what  we  have  been  and  what  we  are,  we'd  pay  as 
much  attention  to  ''talk"  as  we  would  to  any  other  kind  of  oU 
cats'  mewing!  We'd  not  be  vay  apt  to  let  such  things  keep  m 
from  the  plenty  of-  life  we  have  left  to  us  for  making  up  to  our- 
selves lor  old  unhappinesses  and  mistakes.  But  now  we're  faced 
with — ^not  the  slander  and  not  our  own  fear  of  it,  because  we 
haven't  any,  but  someone  else's  fear  of  it — ^your  son's.  And, 
oh,  dearest  woman  in  the  world,  I  know  what  your  son  is  to  you, 
and  it  frightens  me !  Let  me  explain  a  little :  I  don't  think  he'll 
change — at  twenty-one  or  twenty-two  so  many  things  appear 
solid  and  permanent  and  terrible  which  forty  sees  are  nothing 
but  disappearing  miasma.  Forty  can't  teU  twenty  about  this; 
that's  the  pity  of  it!  Twenty  can  find  out  only  by  getting  to  be 
forty.  And  so  we  come  to  this,  dear:  Will  you  live  your  own 
life  your  way,  or  George's  way?  I'm  going  a  little  further,  be- 
cause it  would  be  fatal  not  to  be  wholly  firank  now.  George  will 
act  toward  you  only  as  your  long  worship  of  him,  your  sacrifices 
— ^all  the  unseen  little  ones  every  day  since  he  was  bom — will 
make  him  act.  Dear,  it  breaks  my  heart  for  you,  but  what  you 
have  to  oppose  now  is  the  history  of  your  own  seUess  and  perfect 
motherhood.  I  remember  saying  once  that  what  you  worshipped 
in  your  son  was  the  angel  you  saw  in  him — ^and  I  still  believe 
that  is  true  of  every  mother.  But  in  a  mother's  worship  she  may 
not  see  that  the  Will  in  her  son  should  not  always  be  offered 
incense  along  with  the  angel.  I  grow  sick  with  fear  for  you — ^for 
both  you  and  me — ^when  I  think  how  the  Will  against  us  two  has 
grown  strong  through  the  love  you  have  given  the  angd — and 
how  long  your  own  sweet  Will  has  served  tivit  other*  Are  you 
strong  enough,  Ii^bei?  Can  you  make  the  fight?  I  promise 
you  that  if  you  will  take  heart  for  it,  you  wiU  find  so  quickly  that 
it  has  all  amounted  to  nothing.  You  shall  have  happiness,  and, 
in  a  little  while,  only  happiness.    You  need  only  to  write  me  a 


line — ^I  can't  come  to  your  house — and  tell  me  where  you  will 
meet  me.  We  will  come  back  in  a  month,  and  the  angel  in  your 
son  will  bring  him  to  you;  I  promise  it.  What  is  good  in  him  will 
grow  so  fine,  once  you  have  beaten  the  turbulent  Will — ^but  it 
must  be  beaten! 

Your  brother,  that  good  friend,  is  waiting  with  such  patience; 
I  should  not  keep  him  longer — ^and  I  am  saying  too  much  for 
wisdom,  I  fear.  But,  oh,  my  dear,  won't  you  be  strong — such 
a  little  short  strength  it  would  need!  Don't  strike  my  life 
down  twice,  dear — this  time  I've  not  deserved  it. 


Concluding  this  missive,  George  tossed  it  abruptly 
from  him  so  that  one  sheet  fell  up.on  his  bed  and  the 
others  upon  the  floor;  and  at  the  faint  noise  of  their 
falling  Isabel  came,  and,  kneeling,  began  to  gather 
them  up. 

"Did  you  read  it,  dear?" 

George's  face  was  pale  no  longer,  but  pink  with 
fury.     "Yes,  I  did." 

"All  of  it?"  she  asked  gently,  as  she  rose. 

She  did  not  look  at  him,  but  kept  her  eyes  down- 
cast upon  the  letter  in  her  hands,  tremulously  rear- 
ranging the  sheets  in  order  as  she  spoke — and  though 
she  smiled,  her  smile  was  as  tremulous  as  her  hands. 
Nervousness  and  an  irresistible  timidity  possessed 
her.    " I —I  wanted  to  sav,  George,"  she  faltered.    '*T 


felt  that  if — if  some  day  it  should  happen — I  mean, 
if  you  came  to  feel  diflferently  about  it,  and  Eugene 
and  I — that  is  if  we  found  that  it  seemed  the  most 
sensible  thing  to  do — ^I  was  afraid  you  might  think 
it  would  be  a  little  queer  about — ^Lucyo  I  mean  if 
' — if  she  were  your  step-sister.  Of  course,  she'd  not 
be  even  legally  related  to  you,  and  if  you — if  you 
cared  for  her " 

•Thus  far  she  got  stumblingly  with  what  she  wanted 
to  say,  while  George- watched  her  with  a  gaze  that 
grew  harder  and  hotter;  but  here  he  cut  her  oflF.  "I 
have  already  given  up  all  idea  of  Lucy,"  he  said. 
"Naturally,  I  couldn't  have  treated  her  father  as  I 
deUberately  did  treat  him — I  could  hardly  have 
done  that  and  expected  his  daughter  ever  to  speak 
to  me  again." 

Isabel  gave  a  quick  cry  of  compassion,  but  be 
allowed  her  no  opportunity  to  speak.  "You  needn't 
thhik  I'm  making  any  particular  sacrifice,"  he  said 
sharply,  "though  I  would,  quickly  enough,  if  I 
thought  it  necessary  in  a  matter  of  honour  like 
this.  I  was  interested  in  her,  and  I  could  even  say 
I  did  care  for  her;  but  she  proved  pretty  satis- 
factorily that  she  cared  little  enough  about  me! 
She  went  away  right  in  the  midst  of  a — of  a  diflference 


of  opinion  we  were  having;  she  didn't  even  let  me 
know  she  was  going,  and  never  wrote  a  line  to  me. 
and  then  came  back  telling  everybody  she'd  had  *a 
perfectly  gorgeous  time!'  That's  quite  enough  for 
me.  I'm  not  precisely  the  sort  to  arrange  for  that 
kind  of  thing  to  be  done  to  me  more  than  once! 
The  truth  is,  we're  not  congenial  and  we'd  found 
that  much  out,  at  least,  before  she  left.  We  should 
never  have  been  happy;  she  was  *  superior'  all  the 
time,  and  critical  of  me — not  very  pleasant,  that! 
I  was  disappointed  in  her,  and  I  might  as  well 
say  it.  I  don't  think  she  has  the  very  deepest  nature 
in  the  world,  and " 

But  Isabel  put  her  hand  timidly  on  his  arm. 
"Georgie,  dear,  this  is  only  a  quarrel:  all  young 
people  have  them  before  they  get  adjusted,  and  you 
mustn't  let " 

"If  you  please!"  he  said  emphatically,  moving 
back  from  her.  "This  isn't  that  kind.  It's  all  over, 
and  I  don't  care  to  speak  of  it  again.  It's  settled. 
Don't  you  understand?" 

"But,  dear " 

"No.  I  want  to  talk  to  you  about  this  letter  of 
her  father's." 

"Yes,  dear,  that's  why " 


"It's  simply  the  most  oflfensive  piece  of  writing 
that  I've  ever  held  in  my  hands!" 

She  stepped  back  from  him,  startled.  "But, 
dear,  I  thought " 

"I  can't  understand  your  even  showing  me  such 
a  thing!"  he  cried.  "How  did  you  happen  to  bring 
it  to  me?" 

"Your  uncle  thought  I'd  better.  He  thought  it 
was  the  simplest  thing  to  do,  and  he  said  that  he'd 
suggested  it  to  Eugene,  and  £ugene  had  agreed. 
They  thought " 

"Yes!''  George  said  bitterly.  "I  should  like  to 
hear  what  they  thought!" 

"They  thought  it  would  be  the  most  straight- 
forward thing." 

George  drew  a  long  breath.  "Well,  what  do  you 
think,  mother?" 

"I  thought  it  would  be  the  simplest  and  most 
straightforward  thing;  I  thought  they  were  right." 

"Very  well!  We'll  agree  it  was  simple  and 
straightforward.  Now,  what  do  you  think  of  that 
letter  itself?" 

She  hesitated,  looking  away.  "I — of  course  I 
don't  agree  with  him  in  the  way  he  speaks  of  you, 
dear^-except  about  the  angel!    I  don't  agree  with- 


some  of  the  things  he  implies.  YouVe  always  been 
unselfish — nobody  knows  that  better  than  your 
mother.  When  Fanny  was  left  with  nothing,  you 
were  so  quick  and  generous  to  give  up  what  really 
should  have  come  to  you,  and " 

"And  yet,"  George  broke  in,  "you  see  what  he 
implies  about  me.  Don't  you  think,  really,  that 
this  was  a  pretty  insulting  letter  for  that  man  to  be 
asking  you  to  hand  your  son?  " 

"Oh,  no!'*  she  cried.  "You  can  see  how  fair  he 
means  to  be,  and  he  didn't  ask  for  me  to  give  it  to 
you.     It  was  brother  George  who "       , 

"Never  mind  that,  now!  You  say  he  tries  to  be 
fair,  and  yet  do  you  suppose  it  ever  occurs  to  him 
that  I'm  doing  my  simple  duty?  That  I'm  doing 
what  my  father  would  do  if  he  were  alive?  That 
I'm  doing  what  my  father  would  ask  me  to  do  if  he 
could  speak  from  his  grave  out  yonder?  Do  you 
suppose  it  ever  occurs  to  that  man  for  one  minute 
that  I'm  protecting  my  mother?"  George  raised 
his  voice,  advancing  upon  the  helpless  lady  fiercely; 
and  she  could  only  bend  her  head  before  him.  "  He 
talks  about  my  *Will' — ^how  it  must  be  beaten  down; 
yes,  and  he  asks  my  mother  to  do  that  little  thing  to 
please  him!     What  for?     Why  does  he    want  me 


*beaten'  by  my  mother?  Because  I'm  trying  to 
protect  her  name!  He's  got  my  mother's  name 
bandied  up  and  down  the  streets  of  this  town  till 
I  can't  step  in  those  streets  without  wondering  what 
every  soul  I  meet  is  thinking  of  me  and  of  my  family, 
and  now  he  wants  you  to  marry  him  so  that  every 


gossip  in  town  will  say  *There!  What  did  I  tell 
you?  I  guess  that  proves  it's  true!'  You  can't  get 
away  from  it;  that's  exactly  what  they'd  say,  and 
this  man  pretends  he  cares  for  you,  and  yet  asks  you 
to  marry  him  and  give  them  the  right  to  say  it.  He 
Bays  he  and  you  don't  care  what  they  say,  but  I 
know  better !  He  may  not  care — ^probably  he's  that 
kind — ^but  you  do.  There  never  was  an  Amberson 
yet  that  would  let  the  Amberson  name  go  trailing 
in  the  dust  like  that!  It's  the  proudest  name  in 
this  town  and  it's  going  to  stay  the  proudest;  and  I 
tell  you  that's  the  deepest  thing  in  my  nature — ^not 
that  I'd  expect  Eugene  Morgan  to  imderstand — the 
very  deepest  thing  in  my  nature  is  to  protect  that 
name,  and  to  fight  for  it  to  the  last  breach  when 
danger  threatens  it,  as  it  does  now — through  my 
mother!"  He  turned  from  her,  striding  up  and 
down  and  tossing  his  arms  about,  in  a  tumult  of 
gesture.     "I  ^^-an't  believe  it  of  you,  that  you'd 


thirdo  ot  such  a  sacrilege!  That's  what  it  would  be 
— aaerttege!  When  he  talks  about  your  unselfish- 
ness toward  me,  he's  right — you  'have  been  unselfish 
and  you  have  been  a  perfect  mother.  But  what 
about  him?  Is  it  unselfish  of  him  to  want  you  to 
throw  away  your  good  name  just  to  please  him? 
That's  aU  he  asks  of  you — ^and  to  quit  being  my 
mother!  Do  you  think  I  can  believe  you  really  care 
for  him?  I  don't!  You  are  my  mother  and  you're 
aCt  Amberson — and  I  believe  you're  too  proud! 
You're  too  proud  to  care  for  a  man  who  could  write 
such  a  letter  as  that!"  He  stopped,  faced  her,  and 
spoke  with  more  self -control:  "Well,  what  are  you 
going  to  do  about  it,  mother?" 

George  was  right  about  his  mother's  being  proud. 
And  even  when  she  laughed  with  a  negro  gardener, 
or  even  those  few  times  in  her  life  when  people  saw 
her  weep,  Isabel  had  a  proud  look — something  that 
was  indep^ident  and  graceful  and  strong.  But  she 
did  not  have  it  now:  she  leaned  against  the  wall,  be- 
side his  dressing-table,  and  seemed  beset  with  hu- 
ndlity  and  with  weakness.     Her  head  drooped. 

"What  answer  are  you  going  to  make  to  such  a 
letter?"  G^eorge  demanded,  like  a  judge  on  the  bench. 

"I — ^I  don't  quite  know,  dear,"  she  murmured. 


"You  don't?"  be  cried.     "You " 

"Wait,"  she  begged  him.  "I'm  so — confused." 
"I  want  to  know  what  you're  going  to  write  him. 
Do  you  think  if  you  did  what  he  wants  you  to  I  could 
bear  to  stay  another  day  in  this  town,  mother?  Do 
you  think  I  could  ever  bear  even  to  see  you  again 
if  you  married  him?  I'd  want  to,  but  you  surely 
know  I  just — couldn't ! " 

'  She  made  a  futile  gesture,  and  seemed  to  breathe 
with  difficulty.  "I — ^I  wasn't — ^quite  sure,"  she 
faltered,  "about — about  it's  being  wise  for  us  to  be 
married — even  before  knowing  how  you  feel  about 
it.  I  wasn't  even  sure  it  was  quite  fair  to — to 
Eugene.  I  have — ^I  seem  to  have  that  family 
trouble — like  father's — that  I  spcdce  to  you  about 
once."  She  managed  a  deprecatory  little  dry  laugh. 
"Not  that  it  amounts  to  much,  but  I  wasn't  at  all 
sure  that  it  woidd  be  fair  to  him.  Marrying  doeim't 
mean  so  much,  after  all — ^not  at  my  age.  It's 
enough  to  know  that — ^that  people  think  of  you — 
and  to  see  th^n.  I  thought  we  were  all— oh, 
pretty  happy  the  way  things  were,  and  I  don't  think 
it  would  mean  giving  up  a  great  deal  for  him  or  me, 
either,  if  we  just  went  on  as  we  have  been.  I — I  see 
him  almost  every  day,  and " 


"Mother!"  George's  voice  was  loud  and  stem. 
"Do  you  think  you  could  go  on  seeing  him  after 

She  had  been  talking  helplessly  enough  before; 
her  tone  was  little  more  broken  now.  "Not — not 
even — see  him?" 

"How  could  you?"  George  cried.  "Mother,  it 
seems  to  me  that  if  he  ever  set  foot  in  this  house 
again — oh!  I  can't  speak  of  it!  Could  you  see  him, 
knowing  what  talk  it  makes  every  time  he  turns  into 
this  street,  and  knowing  what  that  means  to  me? 
Oh,  I  don't  understand  all  this — I  don't!  If  you'd 
told  me,  a  year  ago,  that  such  things  were  going  to 
happen,  I'd  have  thought  you  were  insane — ^and 
now  I  believe  /  am!" 

Then,  after  a  preliminary  gesture  of  despair,  as 
though  he  meant  harm  to  the  ceiling,  he  flimg  him- 
self heavily,  face  downward,  upon  the  bed.  His 
anguish  was  none  the  less  real  for  its  vehemence;  and 
the  stricken  lady  came  to  him  instantly  and  bent 
over  him,  once  more  enfolding  him  in  her  arms. 
She  said  nothing,  but  suddenly  her  tears  fell  upon 
his  head;  she  saw  them,  and  seemed  to  be 

"Oh.  this  won't  do!"  she  said.     "I've  never  let 


you  see  me  cry  before,  except  when  your  father  died. 
I  mustn't!;* 

And  she  ran  from  the  room. 

.  .  .  A  Kttle  while  after  she  had  gone,  George 
rose  and  began  solemnly  to  dress  for  dinner.  At  one 
stage  of  these  conscientious  proceedings  he  put  on, 
temporarily,  his  long  black  velvet  dressing-gown,  and, 
happening  to  catch  sight  in  his  pier  glass  of  the 
picturesque  and  mediaeval  figure  thus  presented,  he 
paused  to  r^ard  it;  and  something  profoundly 
theatrical  in  his  nature  came  to  the  surface. 

His  Ups  moved;  he  whispered,  half -aloud,  some 
famous  fragments: 

'Tis  not  alone  my  inky  cloak,  good  mother. 
Nor  customary  suits  of  solemn  black     .     . 

For,  in  truth,  the  mirrored  princely  image,  with 
hair  dishevelled  on  the  white  brow,  and  th^  long 
tragic  fall  of  black  velvet  from  the  shoulders,  had 
brought  about  (in  his  thought,  at  least)  some 
comparisons  of  his  own  times,  so  out  of  joint,  with 
those  of  that  other  gentle  prince  and  heir  whose 
widowed  mother  was  minded  to  marry  again. 

''But  I  have  that  within  which  passeth  show; 
These  but  the  trappings  and  the  suits  of  Woe** 


Not  less  like  Hastilet  did  he  feel  and  look  as  he 
sat  gauntly  at  the  dinner  table  with  Fanny  to  par- 
take of  a  meal  throughout  which  neither  spoke. 
Isabel  had  sent  word  "not  to  wait"  for  her,  an  in- 
junction it  was  as  well  they  obeyed,  for  she  did  not 
come  at  all.  But  with  the  renewal  of  sustenance 
furnished  to  his  system,  some  relaxation  must  have 
occurred  within  the  high-strung  George.  Dinner 
was  not  quite  finished  when,  without  warning, 
sleep  hit  him  hard.  His  burning  eyes  could  no 
longer  restrain  the  lids  above  them;  his  head  sagged 
beyond  control;  and  he  got  to  his  feet,  and  went 
lurching  upstairs,  yawning  with  exhaustion.  From 
the  door  of  his  room,  which  he  closed  mechanically, 
with  his  eyes  shut,  he  went  blindly  to  his  bed,  fell 
upon  it  soddenly,  and  slept — with  his  face  full  up- 
turned to  the  light. 

.  *  .  It  was  after  midnight  when  he  woke,  and 
the  room  was  dark.  He  had  not  dreamed,  but  he 
woke  with  the  sense  that  somebody  or  something 
had  been  with  him  while  he  slept — somebody  or 
something  infinitely  compassionate;  somebody  or 
something  infinitely  protective,  that  would  let  him 
come  to  no  harm  and  to  no  grief. 

He  got  up,  and  pressed  the  light  on.     Pinned  to 


the  cover  of  his  dressing-table  was  a  square  envelope, 
with  the  words,  "For  you,  dear,''  written  in  pencil 
upon  it.  But  the  message  inside  was  in  ink,  a  little 
smudged  here  and  there. 

I  have  been  out  to  the  mail-box,  darlihg,  with  a  letter  IVe 
written  to  Eugene,  and  he'll  have  it  in  the  morning.  It  would 
be  unfair  not  to  let  him  know  at  once,  and  my  decision  could  not 
change  if  I  waited.  It  would  always  be  the  same.  I  think  it  is 
a  little  better  for  me  to  write  to  you,  like  this,  instead  of  waiting 
till  you  wake  up  and  then  telling  you,  because  I'm  foolish  and 
might  cry  again,  and  I  took  a  vow  once,  long  ago,  that  you  should 
never  see  me  cry.  Not  that  I'll  feel  like  crying  when  we  talk 
things  over  to-morrow.  I'll  be-all  right  and  fine"  (as  you  say 
so  often)  by  that  time — don't  fear.  I  think  what  makes  me  most 
ready  to  cry  now  is  the  thought  of  the  terrible  suffering  in  your 
poor  face,  and  the  unhappy  knowledge  that  it  b  I,  your  mother, 
who  piit  it  there.  It  shall  never  come  again!  I  love  you  better 
than  anything  and  everything  else  on  earth.  God  gave  you  to 
me — and  oh!  how  thankful  I  have  been  every  day  of  my  life 
for  that  sacred  gift — and  nothing  can  ever  come  between  me 
and  God's  gift.  I  cannot  hurt  you,  and  I  cannot  let  you  stay 
hurt  as  you  have  been — ^not  another  instant  after  you  wake  up, 
my  darling  boy!  It  is  beyond  my  power.  And  Eugene  was 
right — ^I  know  you  couldn't  change  about  this.  Your  suffering 
shows  how  deep-seated  the  feeling  is  within  you.  So  I've 
written  him  just  about  what  I  think  you  would  like  me  to — 
though  I  told  him  I  would  always  be  fond  of  him  and  always 
his  best  friend,  and  I  hoped  his  dearest  friend.  He'll  under- 
stand  about  not  seeing  him.  He'll  understand  that,  though  I 
didn't  say  it  in  so  many  words.  You  mustn't  trouble  about 
that — she'll  understand.    Good-night,  my  darling,  my  beloved 


my  beloved!  You  mustn't  be  troubled.  I  think  I  shouldn't 
mind  anything  very  much  so  long  as  I  have  you  "all  to  myself" 
— as  people  say — ^to  make  up  for  your  long  years  away*from  me 
at  college.  We'll  talk  of  what's  best  to  do  in  the  morning, 
shan't  we?  And  for  all  this  pain  you'll  forgive  your  loving  an<^ 
devoted  mother. 



HAVING  finished  some  errands  downtown, 
the  next  afternoon,  George  Amberson  Mina- 
f er  was  walking  up  National  Avenue  on  his 
homeward  way  when  he  saw  in  the  distance,  coming 
toward  him,  upon  the  same  side  of  the  street,  the 
figure  of  a  young  lady — ^a  figure  just  under  the  middle 

height,  comely  indeed,  and  to  be  mistaken  for  none 


other  in  the  world — even  at  two  hundred  yards. 
To  his  sharp  discomfiture  his  heart  immediately 
forced  upon  him  the  consciousness  of  its  acceleration ; 
a  sudden  warmth  about  his  neck  made  him  aware 
that  he  had  turned  red,  and  then,  departing,  left 
him  pale.  For  a  panicky  moment  he  thought  of 
lacing  about  in  actual  flight;  he  had  little  doubt 
that  Lucy  would  meet  him  with  no  token  of  recog- 
nition, and  all  at  once  this  probability  struck 
him  as  unendurable.  And  if  she  did  not  speak,  was 
it  the  proper  part  of  chivalry  to  lift  his  hat  and  take 
the  cut  bareheaded?  Or  should  the  finer  gentleman 
acquiesce  in  the  lady's  desire  for  no  further  acquaint* 



ance,  and  pass  her  with  stony  mien  and  eyes  con- 
strained forward?  George  was  a  young  man  badly 

But  the  girl  approaching  him  was  unaware  of  his 
trepidation,  being  perhaps  somewhat  preoccupied 
with  her  own.  She  saw  only  that  he  was  pale,  and 
that  his  eyes  were  darkly  circled.  But  here  he  was 
advantaged  with  her,  for  the  finest  touch  to  his 
good  looks  was  given  by  this  toning  down;  neither 
pallor  nor  dark  circles  detracting  from  them,  but 
rather  adding  to  them  a  melancholy  favour  of  dis- 
tinction. George  had  retained  his  mourning,  a 
tribute  completed  down  to  the  final  details  of  black 
gloves  and  a  polished  ebony  cane  (which  he  would 
have  been  pained  to  name  otherwise  than  as  a 
** walking-stick")  and  in  the  aura  of  this  sombre 
elegance  his  straight  figure  and  drawn  face  were  not 
without  a  tristful  and  appealing  dignity. 

In  everything  outward  he  was  cause  enough  for  a 
girl's  cheek  to  flush,  her  heart  to  beat  faster,  and 
her  eyes  to  warm  with  the  soft  light  that  came  into 
Lucy's  now,  whether  she  would  or  no.  If  his  spirit 
had  been  what  his  looks  proclaimed  it,  she  would 
have  rejoiced  to  let  the  light  glow  forth  which  now 
shone  in  spite  of  her.     For  a  long  time,  thinking  of 


that  spirit  of  his,  and  what  she  felt  it  should  he, 
she  had  a  persistent  sense:  "It  must  be  there!" 
but  she  had  determined  to  believe  this  folly  no  longer. 
Nevertheless,  when  she  met  him  at  the  Sharons'^ 
she  had  been  far  less  calm  than  she  seemed. 

People  speaking  casually  of  Lucy  were  apt  to 
define  her  as  "a  little  beauty,"  a  definition  short  of 
the  mark.  She  was  "a  little  beauty,"  but  an  inde- 
pendent,  masterful,  seK-reKant  Kttle  American,  of 
whom  her  father's  earlier  gipsyings  and  her  own 
sturdiness  had  made  a  woman  ever  since  she  was 
fifteen.  But  though  she  was  the  mistress  of  her  own 
ways  and  no  slave  to  any  lamp  save  that  of  her  own 
conscience,  she  had  a  weakness:  she  had  fallen  in 
love  witii  George  Amberson  Minafer  at  first  sight, 
and  no  matter  how  she  disciplined  herself,  she  had 
never  been  able  to  climb  out.  The  thing  had 
happened  to  her;  that  was  all.  George  had  looked 
just  the  way  she  had  always  wanted  someone  to 
look — the  riskiest  of  all  the  moonshine  ambushes 
wherein  tricky  romance  snares  credulous  young 
love.  But  what  was  fatal  to  Lucy  was  that  this 
thing  having  happened  to  her,  she  could  not  change 
it.  No  matter  what  she  discovered  in  George's 
nature  she  was  imable  to  take  away  what  she  had 


given  him;  and  though  she  could  think  differently 
about  him,  she  could  not  feel  differently  about  him, 
for  she  was  one  of  those  too  faithful  victims  of 
glamour.  When  she  managed  to  keep  the  picture 
of  George  away  from  her  mind's  eye,  she  did  well 
enough;  but  when  she  let  him  become  visible,  she 
could  not  choose  but  love  what  she  disdained.  She 
was  a  little  angel  who  had  fallen  in  love  with  high^ 
handed  Lucifer;  quite  an  experience,  and  not  apt  to 
be  soon  succeeded  by  any  falling  in  love  with  a  tamer 
party — ^and  the  unhappy  truth  was  that  George 
did  make  better  men  seem  tame.  But  though  she 
was  a  victim,  she  was  a  heroic  one,  anything  but 

As  they  drew  nearer,  George  tried  to  prepare 
himself  to  meet  her  with  some  renmants  of  aplomb. 
He  decided  that  he  would  keep  on  looking  straight 
ahead,  and  lift  his  hand  toward  his  hat  at  the  very 
last  moment  when  it  would  be  possible  for  her  to 
se6  him  out  of  the  comer  of  her  eye :  then  when  she 
thought  it  over  later,  she  would  not  be  sure  whether 
he  had  saluted  her  or  merely  rubbed  his  forehead. 
And  there  was  the  added  benefit  that  any  third 
person  who  might  chance  to  look  from  a  window,  or 
from  a  passing  carriage,  would  not  think  that  h."^ 


was  receiving  a  snub,  because  he  did  not  intend  to 
lift  his  hat,  but,  timing  the  gesture  properly,  would 
in  fact  actually  rub  his  forehead.  These  were  the 
hasty  plans  which  occupied  his  thoughts  until  he 
was  within  about  fifty  feet  of  her — when  he  ceased 
to  have  either  plans  or  thoughts.  He  had  kept  his 
eyes  from  looking  full  at  her  until  then,  and  as  he 
saw  her,  thus  close  at  hand,  and  coming  nearer,  a 
regret  that  was  dumfounding  took  possession  of  him. 
For  the  first  time  he  had  the  sense  of  having  lost 
something  of  overwhelming  importance. 

Lucy  did  not  keep  to  the  right,  but  came  straight 
to  meet  him,  smiling,  and  with  her  hard  offered  to 


"Why — you "  he  stammered,  as  he  took  it. 

"Haven't  you ''    What  he  meant  to  say  was, 

"Haven't  you  Jieard?" 

"Haven't  I  what?"  she  asked;  and  he  saw  that 
Eugene  had  not  yet  told  her. 

"Nothing!"  he  gasped.  "May  I — may  I  turn 
and  walk  with  you  a  little  way?" 

"Yes,  indeed!"  she  said  cordially. 

He  would  not  have  altered  what  had  been  done: 
he  was  satisfied  with  all  that — satisfied  that  it  was 
right,  and  that  his  own  course  was  right.    But  he 


dieerfully.  *'The  way  I  am  and  the  way  you  axe,  it 
couldn't  ever  be  anything  else.  So  what  was  the 

^'I  don't  know/'  he  sighed,  and  his  sigh  was 
abysmal.  '^But  what  I  wanted  to  tell  you  is  this: 
when  you  went  away,  you  didn't  let  me  know  and 
didn't  care  how  or  when  I  heard  it,  but  I'm  not  like 
that  with  you.  This  time,  /'m  going  away.  That's 
what  I  wanted  to  tell  you.  I'm  going  away  to- 
morrow night — ^indefinitely." 

She  nodded  sunnily.  '^That's  nice  for  you;  I 
hope  you'll  have  ever  so  jolly  a  time,  George." 

"I  don't  expect  to  have  a  particularly  *  jolly 
time.' " 

"Well,  then,"  she  laughed,  "if  I  were  you  I 
don't  think  I'd  go." 

It  seemed  impossible  to  impress  this  distracting 
creature,  to  make  her  serious.  "Lucy,"  he  said 
desperately,  "this  is  our  last  walk  together." 

"Evidently!"  she  said.  "If  you're  going  away  to* 
morrow  night." 

*Lucy — this  may  be  the  last  time  I'll  see  you — 
ever — ever  in  my  life." 

At  that  she  looked  at  him  quickly,  across  her 
idioulder,  but  she  smiled  as  brightly  as  before,  and 


with  the  same  cordial  inconsequence:  ''Oh,  I  can 
hardly  think  that!"  she  said.  ''And  of  course  I'd 
be  awfully  sorry  to  think  it.  You're  not  moving 
away,  are  you,  to  live? " 


'*And  even  if  you  were,  of  course  you'd  be  coming 
back  to  visit  your  relatives  every  now  and  then." 

"I  don't  know  when  I'm  coming  back.  Mother 
and  I  are  starting  to-morrow  night  for  a  trip  around 
the  world." 

At  this  she  did  look  thoughtful.  "Your  mother 
is  going  with  you?" 

"Good  heavens!"  he  groaned.  '*Lucy,  doesn't  it 
make  any  diflFerence  to  you  that  /  am  going?" 

At  this  her  cordial  smile  instantly  appeared  again. 
'*  Yes,  of  course,"  she  said.  "I'm  sure  I'll  miss  you 
ever  so  much.    Are  you  to  be  gone  long?" 

He  stared  at  her  wanly.  "I  told  you  indefinitely," 
he  said.  '*  We've  made  no  plans — at  all — ^f or  coming 

"That  does  sound  like  a  long  trip!"  she  exclaimed 
admiringly.  "Do  you  plan  to  be  travelling  all  the 
time,  or  will  you  stay  in  some  one  place  the  greater 
part  of  it?  I  think  it  would  be  lovely  to 

X  uuuK  It  wouia  ue  loveiy  to 

««T 9  99 



He  halted;  and  she  stopped  with  him.  They  had 
come  to  a  opmer  at  the  edge  of  the  ^^business  sec- 
tion'' of  the  city,  and  people  were  everywhere  about 
them,  brushing  against  them,  sometimes,  in  pass- 

I  can't  stand  this,"  George  said,  in  a  low  voice. 

I'm  just  about  ready  to  go  in  this  drug-store  here, 
and  ask  the  clerk  for  something  to  keep  me  from 
dying  in  my  tracks!  It's  quite  a  shock,  you  see, 

"What  is?" 

"To  find  out  certainly,  at  last,  how  deeply  you've 
cared  for  me!  To  see  how  much  difference  this 
makes  to  you !    By  Jove,  I  have  mattered  to  you ! " 

Her  cordial  smile  was  tempered  now  with  good- 
nature.     "George!"      She    laughed    indulgently. 
"Surely  you  don't  want  me  to  do  pathos  on  a  down- 
town comer!" 
tr "  Vou  wouldn't  *do  pathos'  anywhere!" 

**Well — don't  you  think  pathos  is  generally 
rather  foozling?" 

"I  can't  stand  this  any  longer,"  he  said.     "I 
can't!    Good-bye,  Lucy!"    He  took  her  hand.    "It's 
good-bye — ^I  think  it's  good-bye  for  good,  Lucy!" 
Good-bye!     I  do  hope  you'll  have  the  most 



splendid  trip/'  She  gave  his  hand  a  cordial  little 
grip,  then  released  it  lightly.  **Give  my  love  to 
your  mother.     Good-bye ! '  * 

He  turned  heavily  away,  and  a  moment  later 
glanced  back  over  his  shoulder.  She  had  not  gone 
on,  but  stood  watching  him,  that  same  casual, 
cordial  smile  on  her  face  to  the  very  last;  and  now, 
as  he  looked  back,  she  emphasized  her  friendly  un- 
concern by  waving  her  small  hand  to  him  cheerily, 
though  perhaps  with  the  slightest  hint  of  preoccu- 
pation, as  if  she  had  begun  to  think  of  the  errand 
that  brought  her  downtown. 

In  his  mind,  George  had  already  explained  her  to 
his  own  poignant  dissatisfaction— some  blond  pup, 
probably,  whom  she  had  met  during  that  "p^fectly 
gorgeous  time!*'  And  he  strode  savagely  onward, 
not  looking  back  again. 

But  Lucy  remained  where  she  was  untiJ  he  was 
out  of  sight.  Then  she  went  slowly  into  the  drug- 
store which  had  struck  George  as  a  possible  source 
«f  stimulant  for  himself. 

"Please  let  me  have  a  few  drops  of  aromatic 
spirits  of  ammonia  in  a  glass  of  water,''  she  said, 
with  the  utmost  composure. 

"Yes,  ma^am  .'*'  said  the  impressionable  clerk,  who 



liad  been  looking  at  her  through  the  display  window 
tts  she  stood  on  the  comer. 

But  a  moment  later,  as  he  turned  from  the  shelves 
o£.  glass  jars  against  the  wall,  with  the  potion  she 
bad  asked  for  in  his  hand,  he  uttered  an  exclamation : 
'^For  goshes'  sake.  Miss!"  And,  describing  this 
adventure  to  his  fellow-boarders,  that  evenings 
'^ Sagged  pretty  near  to  the  counter,  she  was,"  he 
said.  ^*'F  I  hadn't  been  a  bright,  quick,  ready-for- 
anything  young  fella  she'd  'a'  flummixed  plum!  I 
was  watchin'  her  out  the  window — talkin'  to  some 
young  s'iety  fella,  and  she  was  all  right  then.  She 
was  all  right  when  she  come  in  the  store,  too.  Yes, 
sir;  the  prettiest  girl  that  ever  walked  in  our  place 
and  took  one  good  lock  at  me.  I  reckon  it  must  be 
the  truth  what  some  you  town  wags  say  about  my 


AT  THAT  hour  the  heroine  of  the  susceptible 
ZJm  clerk's  romance  was  engaged  in  brightening 
-^  ^  the  rosy  little  coal  fire  under  the  white 
mantelpiece  in  her  pretty  white-and-blue  boudoir. 
Four  photographs  all  framed  in  decorous  plain 
silver  went  to  the  anthracite's  fierce  destruction — 
frames  and  all — and  three  packets  of  letters  and 
notes  in  a  charming  Florentine  treasure-box  ol 
painted  wood;  nor  was  the  box,  any  more  than  the 
silver  frames,  spared  this  rousing  finish.  Thrown 
heartily  upon  live  coal,  the  fine  wood  sparkled  forth 
in  stars,  then  burst  into  an  alarming  blaze  which 
scorched  the  white  mantelpiece,  but  Lucy  stood  and 
looked  on  without  moving. 

It  was  not  Eugene  who  told  her* what  had  hap- 
pened at  Isabel's  door.  When  she  got  heme,  she 
found  Fanny  Minafer  waiting  for  her — a  secret 
excursion  of  Fanny's  for  the  purpose,  presumably, 
of  *' letting  out"  again;  because  that  was  what  sh9 
She  told  Lucy  everything  ^except  her  own 



lamentable  part  in  the  production  of  the  recent 
miseries)  and  concluded  with  a  tribute  to  George: 
**The  worst  of  it  is,  he  thinks  he*s  been  such  a  hero, 
and  Isabel  does,  too,  and  that  makes  him  more  than 
twice  as  awful.  It*s  been  the  same  all  his  life: 
everything  he  did  was  noble  and  perfect.  He  had  a 
domineering  nature  to  begin  with,  and  she  let  it  go 
on,  and  fostered  it  till  it  absolutely  ruled  her.  I 
never  saw  a  plainer  case  of  a  person's  fault  making 
them  pay  for  having  it!  She  goes  al^out,  over- 
seeing the  packing  and  praising  George  and  pretend- 
ing to  be  perfectly  cheerful  about  what  he's  making 
her  do  and  about  the  dreadful  things  he's  done.  She 
pretends  he  did  such  a  fine  thing — ^so  manly  and 
protective — agoing  to  Mrs.  Johnson.  And  so  heroic 
— doing  what  his  ^principles'  made  him — even 
though  he  knew  what  it  would  cost  him  with  you! 
And  all  the  while  it's  almost  killing  her — what  he 
said  to  your  father!  She's  always  been  lofty  enough, 
so  to  speak,  and  had  the  greatest  idea  of  the  Amber- 
sons  being  superior  to  the  rest  of  the  world,  and  all 
that,  but  rudeness,  or  anything  like  a  'scene,'  or 
any  bad  manners — ^they  always  just  made  her  sick! 
But  she  could  never  see  what  George's  manners  were 
—oh,  it's  been  a  terrible  adulation!    .     .     .    It's 


going  to  be  a  tapsk  for  me,  living  in  that  big  house, 
all  alone:  you  must  come  and  see  me — ^I  mean  after 
they  Ve  gone,  of  course.  I'll  go  crazy  if  I  don't  see 
something  of  people.  I'm  sure  you'll  come  as  often 
as  you  can.  I  know  you  too  well  to  think  you'll  be 
sensitive  about  coming  there,  or  being  reminded  of 
George.  Thank  heaven  you're  too  well-balanced," 
Miss  Fanny  concluded,  with  a  profound  fervour, 
**  you're  too  well-balanced  to  let  anything  affect 
you  deeply  about  that — that  monkey!" 

The  four  photographs  and  the  painted  Florentine 
box  went  to  their  cremation  within  the  same  hour 
that  Miss  Fanny  spoke;  and  a  little  later  Lucy 
called  her  father  in,  as  he  passed  her  door,  and 
pointed  to  the  blackened  area  on  the  imderside  ol 
the  mantelpiece,  and  to  the  burnt  heap  upon  the  coal, 
where  some  metallic  shapes  still  retained  outline* 
She  flung  her  arms  abc^t  his  neck  in  passionate 
sympathy,  telling  him  that  she  knew  what  had  hap- 
pened to  him;  and  presently  he  began  to  comfort 
her  and  managed  an  embarrassed  laugh. 

"  Well,  well "  he  said.     "  I  was  too  old  for  such 

fooUshness  to  be  getting  into  my  head,  anyhow." 

"No,  no!"  she  sobbed.  "And  if  you  knew  how  I 
despise  myself  for — for  ever  having  thought  one 


instant  about — oh.  Miss  Fanny  called  huu  the  nfght 
name:  that  monkeyl  He  is!'' 
'  ""  There,  I  think  I  agree  with  you/'  Eugene  said 
grhnly,  and  in  his  eyes  there  was  a  steady  light  ol 
anger  that  was  to  last.  ""Yes,  I  think  I  agree  with 
you  about  ihatr* 

"There's  only  one  thing  to  do  with  such  a  person," 
she  said  vehemently.  ""  That's  to  put  him  out  of 
our  thoughts  forever— ^forerer  /  " 

And  yet,  the  next  day,  at  six  o'clock,  which  was 
the  hour,  Fanny  had  told  her,  when  George  and  his 
mother  were  to  leave  upon  their  long  journey,  Lucy 
touched  that  scorched  place  on  her  mantel  with  her 
hand  just  as  the  Uttle  clock  above  it  struck.  Then, 
after  this  odd,  unconscious  gesture,  she  went  to  a 
•window  and  stood  between  the  curtains,  looking  out 
•into  the  cold  November  dusk;  and  in  spite  of  every 
reasoning  and  reasonable  power  within  her,  a  pain 
of  loneliness  struck  through  her  heart.  The  dim 
street  below  ter  window,  the  dark  houses  across  the 
way,  the  vagiie  air  itself —all  looked  empty,  and  cold 
and  (most  of  all)  uninteresting.  Something  more 
sombre  than  November  dusk  took  the  colour  from 
them  and  gave  them  that  air  at  desertion. 

The  light  of  her  fire,  flickering  up  behind  her. 


showed  suddenly  a  flying  group  of  tiny  snowflakes 
nearing  the  window-pane;  and  for  an  instant  she 
felt  the  sensation  of  being  dragged  through  a  snow- 
drift  imder  a  broken  cutter,  with  a  boy^s  arms  about 
her — an  arrogant,  handsome,  too-conquering  boy, 
who  nevertheless  did  his  best  to  get  hurt  himself, 
keying  her  from  any  possible  harm. 

She  shook  the  picture  out  of  her  eyes  indignantly, 
then  came  and  sat  before  her  fire,  and  looked  long 
and  long  at  the  blackened  mantelpiece.  She  did 
not  have  the  mantelpiece  repainted — ^and,  since 
she  did  not,  might  as  well  have  kept  his  photographs. 
One  forgets  what  made  the  scar  upon  his  hand  but 
not  what  made  the  scar  upon  his  wall. 

She  played  no  marche  funebre  upon  her  piano,  even 
though  Chopin's  romantic  lamentation  was  then  at 
the  top  of  nine-tenths  of  the  music-racks  in  the 

country,  American  youth  having  recently  discovered 


the  distinguished  congeniality  between  itself  and  this 
deathless  bit  of  deathly  gloom.  She  did  not  even 
play  "Robin  Adair";  she  played  "Bedelia"  and  all 
the  new  cake-walks,  for  she  was  her  father's  house- 
keeper, and  rightJy  looked  upon  the  office  as  being 
the  same  as  that  of  his  heart-keeper.  Therefore  it 
was  her  affair  to  keep  both  house  and  heart  in  what 


state  of  cheerfulness  might  be  contrived.  She  made 
him  ^^go  out"  more  than  ever;  made  him  take  her 
to  all  the  gayeties  of  that  winter,  declining  to  go  her-^ 
self  unless  he  took  her,  and,  though  Eugene  danced 
no  more,  and  quoted  Shakespeare  to  prove  all  light- 
foot  caperings  beneath  the  dignity  of  his  age,  she 
broke  his  resolution  for  him  at  the  New  Year's 
Eve  "Assembly"  and  half  coaxed,  half  dragged  him 
forth  lipcm  the  floor,  and  made  him  dance  the  New 
Year  in  with  her. 

.  .  .  New  faces  appeared  at  the  dances  of  the 
winter;  new  faces  had  been  appearing  everywhere, 
for  that  matter,  and  familiar  ones  were  disappear- 
ing, merged  in  the  increasing  crowd,  or  gone  for- 
ever and  missed  a  Uttle  and  not  long;  for  the  town  was 
growing  and  changing  as  it  never  had  grown  and 
changed  before. 

It  was  heaving  up  in  the  middle  incredibly;  it  was 
spreading  incredibly;  and  as  it  heaved  and  spread, 
it  befouled  itself  and  darkened  its  sky.  Its  boundary 
was  mere  shapelessness  on  the  run;  a  raw,  new  house 
would  appear  on  a  country  road;  four  or  five  others 
would  presently  be  built  at  intervals  between  it  and 
the  outskirts  of  the  town;  the  country  road  would 
turn  into  an  asphalt  street  with  a  brick-faced  drug- 


store  and  a  frame  grocery  at  a  comer;  then  bungalows 
and  six-room  cottages  would  swiftly  speckle  the 
op^i  green  spaces — and  a  farm  had  become  a  suburb, 
which  would  immediately  shoot  out  other  suburbs 
into  the  country,  on  one  side,  and,  on  the  other,  join 
itself  solidly  to  the  city.  You  drove  between  pleas- 
ant fields  and  woodland  groves  one  spring  day;  and 
in  the  autumn,  passing  over  the  same  ground,  you 
were  warned  oflF  the  tracks  by  an  interurban  trolley- 
car*s  gonging,  and  beheld,  beyond  cement  sidewalks 
just  dry,  new  house-owners  busy  "moving  in." 
Gasoline  and  electricity  were  performing  the  miracles 
Eugene  had  predicted. 

But  the  great  change  was  in  the  citizenry  itself. 
What  was  left  of  the  patriotic  old-stock  generation 
that  had  fought  the  Civil  War,  and  subsequently 
controlled  politics,  had  become  venerable  and  was 
little  heeded.  The  descendants  of  the  pioneers  and 
early  settlers  were  merging  into  the  new  crowd,  be- 
coming part  of  it,  little  to  be  distinguished  from  it. 
What  happened  to  Boston  and  to  Broadway  hap- 
pened in  degree  to  the  Midland  city;  the  old  stock 
became  less  and  less  typical,  and  of  the  grown  people 
who  called  the  place  home,  less  than  a  third  had 
been  bom  in  it.     There  was  a  German  quarter; 


there  was  a  Jewish  quarter;  there  was  a  negro 
quarter — square  miles  of  it — called  "Buektown"; 
there  were  many  Irish  neighbourhoods;  and  there 
were  large  settlements  of  Italians,  and  of  Hun- 
garians,  and  of  Rumanians,  and  of  Servians  and 
other  Balkan  peoples.  But  not  the  emigrants,  them- 
selves, were  the  almost  dominant  type  on  the  streets 
downtown.  That  type  was  the  emigrant's  pros- 
perous offspring:  descendant  of  the  emigrations  ot 
the  Seventies  and  Eighties  and  Nineties,  those  great 
folk-joumeyings  in  search  not  so  directly  of  freedom 
and  democracy  as  of  more  money  for  the  same  la- 
bour. A  new  Midlander — in  fact,  a  new  American 
—was  begmning  dimly  to  emerge. 

A  new  spirit  of  citizenship  had  already  sharply 
defined  itself.  It  was  ideaUstic,  and  its  ideals  were 
expressed  in  the  new  kind  of  yoimg  men  in  business 
downtown.  They  were  optimists — optimists  to  the 
point  of  belligerence — their  motto  being  "Boost! 
Don't  Knock!"  And  they  were  hustlers,  believing 
in  hustb'ng  and  in  honesty  because  both  paid.  They 
loved  their  city  and  worked  for  it  with  a  plutonic 
energy  which  was  always  ardently  vocal.  They  were 
viciously  governed,  but  they  sometimes  went  so  far 
aus  to  struggle  for  better  government  on  accoimt  of 


the  helpful  effect  of  good  govemmeiit  on  the  price 
of  real  estate  and  "betterment"  generally;  the  politi- 
cians could  not  go  too  far  with  them,  and  knew  it^ 
The  idealists  planned  and  strove  and  shouted  that 
their  city  should  become  a  better,  better,  and  better 
city — and  what  they  meant,  when  they  used  the 
word  "better,"  was  "more  prosperous,"  and  the  core  ' 
of  their  idealism  was  this:  "The  more  prosperous 
my  beloved  city,  the  more  prosperous  beloved  I!" 
They  had  one  supreme  theory:  that  the  perfect 
beauty  and  happiness  of  cities  and  of  human  life 
was  to  be  brought  about  by  more  factories;  they  had 
a  mania  for  factories;  there  was  nothing  they  would 
not  do  to  cajole  a  factory  away  from  another  dty; 
and  they  were  never  more  piteously  embittered  than 
when  another  city  cajoled  one  away  from  them. 

What  they  meant  by  Prosperity  was  credit  at  the 
bank;  but  in  exchange  for  this  credit  they  got  noth- 
ing that  was  not  dirty,  and,  therefore,  to  a  sane 
mind,  valueless;  since  whatever  was  cleaned  was 
dirty  again  before  the  cleaning  was  half  done.  For, 
as  the  town  grew,  it  grew  dirty  with  an  incredible 
completeness.  The  idealists  put  up  magnificent 
business  buildings  and  boasted  of  them,  but  the 
buildings  were  begrimed  before  they  were  finished. 


They  boasted  of  their  libraries,  of  their  monuments 
and  statues;  and  poured  soot  on  them.  They 
boasted  of  their  schools,  but  the  schools  were  dirty, 
like  the  children  within  them.  This  was  not  the 
fault  of  the  children  or  their  mothers.  It  was  the 
fault  of  the  ideaUsts,  who  said:  "The  more  dirt,  the 
nuore  prosperity."  They  drew  patriotic,  optimistic 
breaths  of  the  flying  powdered  filth,  of  the  streets, 
and  took  the  foul  and  heavy  smoke  with  gusto  into 
the  profundities  of  their  lungs.  "Boost!  Don't 
knock!"  they  said.  And  every  year  or  so  they 
boomed  a  great  Clean-Up  Week,  when  everybody 
was  supposed  to  get  rid  of  the  tin  cans  in  his  back- 

They  were  happiest  when  the  tearing  down  and 
building  up  were  most  riotous,  and  when  new  factory 
districts  were  thundering  into  life.  In  truth,  the 
city  came  to  be  like  the  body  of  a  great  dirty  man, 
skinned,  to  show  his  busy  works,  yet  wearing  a  few  bar- 
baric ornaments;  and  such  a  figure  carved,  coloured, 
and  discoloured,  and  set  up  in  the  market-place, 
would  have  done  well  enough  as  the  god  of  the  new 
people.  Such  a  god  they  had  indeed  made  in  their 
own  image,  as  all  peoples  make  the  god  they  truly 
serve;  though  of  course  certain  of  the  idealists  went 


to  church  on  Sunday,  and  there  knelt  to  Another, 
considered  to  be  impractical  in  business.  But  while 
the  Growing  went  on,  this  god  of  their  market-place 
was  their  true  god,  their  familiar  and  spirit-control. 
They  did  not  know  that  they  were  his  helplessly 
obedient  slaves,  nor  could  they  ever  hope  to  realize 
their  serfdom  (as  tl^e  first  step  t6ward  becoming  free 
men)  until  they  should  make  the  strange  and  hard 
discovery  that  matter  should  serve  man's  spirit. 

"Prosperity"  meant  good  credit  at  the  bank, 
black  lungs,  and  housewives'  Purgatory.  The  women 
'ought  the  dirt  all  they  could;  but  if  they  let  the  air 
into  their  houses  they  let  in  the  dirt.  It  shortened 
their  Uves,  and  kept  them  from,  the  happiness  of 
^ver  seeing  anything  white.  And  thus,  as  the  city 
ijrew,  the  time  came  when  Lucy,  after  a  hard  strug- 
gle, had  to  give  up  her  blue-and-white  curtains  and 
her  white  walls.  Indoors,  she  put  everything  into 
dull  gray  and  brown,  and  outside  had  the  little  house 
painted  the  dark  green  nearest  to  black.  Then  she 
knew,  of  course,  that  everything  was  as  dirty  as 
ever,  but  was  a  little  less  distressed  because  it  no 
longer  looked  so  dirty  as  it  was. 

These  were  bad  times  for  Amberson  Addition, 
quarter,  already  old,  lay  within  a  mile  of  the 


centre  of  the  town,  but  business  moved  in  other  di- 
Tactions;  and  the  Addition's  share  of  Proq>erity  was 
only  the  smoke  and  dirt,  with  the  bank  credit  left 
out.  The  owners  of  the  original  big  houses  sold 
them,  or  rented  them  to  boardiog-house  keepers, 
and  the  tenants  of  the  multitude  of  small  houses 
moved  ^'farther  out''  (where  the  smoke  was  thinner) 
or  into  apartment  houses,  which  were  built  by  dozens 
now.  Cheaper  tenants  took  their  places,  and  the 
rents  were  lower  and  lower,  and  the  houses  shabbier 
and  shabbier — ^for  all  these  shabby  houses,  burning 
soft  coal,  did  their  best  to  help  in  the  destruction 
of  their  own  value.  They  helped  to  make  the  quar- 
ter so  dingy  and  the  ai^  so  foul  to  breathe  that  no 
one  would  live  there  who  had  money  enough  to 
get  "farther  out"  where  there  were  glimpses  of  un- 
grayed  sky  and  breaths  of  cleaner  winds.  And  with 
the  coming  of  the  new  speed,  "farther  out"  was  now 
as  close  to  business  as  the  Addition  had  been  in  the 
days  of  its  prosperity.  Distances  had  ceased  to 

The  five  new  houses,  built  so  closely  where  had 
been  the  fine  lawn  of  the  Amberson  Mansion,  did 
not  look  new.  When  they  were  a  year  old  they 
looked  as  old  as  they  would  ever  look;  and  two  oi 


them  were  vacant,  having  never  been  rented,  for 
the  Major's  mistake  about  apartment  houses  had 
been  a  disastrous  one.  "  He  guessed  wrong,**  George 
Amberson  said.  *^He  guessed  wrong  at  just  the 
wrong  time !  Housekeeping  in  a  house  is  harder  than 
in  an  apartment;  and  where  the  smoke  and  dirt  are 
as  thick  as  they  are  in  the  Addition,  women  can't 
stand  it.  People  were  crazy  for  apartments — too 
bad  he  couldn't  have  seen  it  in  time.  Poor  man!  he 
digs  away  at  his  ledgers  by  his  old  gas  drop-light  lamp 
almost  every  night — ^he  still  refuses  to  let  the  Man^ 
sion  be  torn  up  for  wiring,  you  know.  But  he  had 
one  painful  satisfaction  this  spring:  he  got  his  taxes 
lowered ! " 

Amberson  laughed  ruefully,  and  Fanny  Minafer 
asked  how  the  Major  could  have  managed  such  an 
economy.  They  were  sitting  upon  the  veranda  at 
Isabel's  one  evening  during  the  third  sumrner  of  the 
absence  of  their  nephew  and  his  mother;  and  the 
conversation  had  turned  toward  Amberson  finances. 

"I  said  it  was  a  ^painful  satisfaction,'  Fanny,"  he 
explained^  "  The  property  has  gone  down  in  value, 
and  they  assessed  it  lower  than  they  did  fifteen  years 


"But  farther  out " 


"Oh,  yes,  ^farther  out!'  Prices  are  magnificeirt 
'farther  out,'  and  farther  in,  too!  We  just  happen, 
to  be  the  wrong  spot,  that's  all.  Not  that  I  don't 
think  something  could  be  done  if  father  would  let 
me  have  a  hand;  but  he  won't.  He  can't,  I  suppose 
I  ought  to  say.  He's  ^always  done  his  own  figuring,* 
he  says;  and  it's  his  Ufelong  habit  to  keep  his  affairs, 
and  even  his  books,  to  himself ,  and  justhandusout  the 
money.    Heaven  knows  he's  done  enough  of  that ! " 

He  sighed;  and  both  were  silent,  looking  out 
at  the  long  flares  of  the  constantly  passing  auto- 
mobile headlights,  shifting  in  vast  geometric  demon- 
strations against  the  darkness.  Now  and  then  a 
bicycle  wound  its  nervous  way  among  these  portents, 
or,  at  long  intervals,  a  surrey  or  buggy  plodded  for 
lomly  by. 

"  There  seem  to  be  so  many  ways  of  making  money 
nowadays,"  Fanny  said  thoughtfully.  "Every  day 
I  hear  of  a  new  fortune  some  person  has  got  hold  of, 
one  way  or  another — ^nearly  always  it's  somebody 
you  never  heard  of.  It  doesn't  seem  all  to  be  in  just 
making  motor  cars;  I  hear  there's  a  great  deal  in 
manufacturing  these  things  that  motor  cars  use — • 
new  inventions  particularly.  I  met  dear  old  Frank 
Bronson  the  other  day,  and  he  told  me ^'^ 


"Oh,  yes,  even  dear  old  Frank^s  got  the  fever,'* 
Amberson  laughed.  "He's  as  wild  as  any  of  them. 
He  told  me  about  this  invention  he's  gone  into,  too. 
^Millions  in  it!'  Some  new  electric  headlight 
better  than  anything  yet — *every  car  in  America 
can't  helTp  but  have  'em,'  and  all  that.  He's  put- 
ting half  he's  laid  by  into  it,  and  the  fact  is,  he  almost 
talked  me  into  getting  father  to  'finance  me'  enough 
for  me  to  go  into  it.  Poor  father!  he's  financed  me 
before!  I  suppose  he  would  again  if  I  had  the  heart 
to  ask  him;  and  this  seems  to  be  a  good  thing,  though 
probably  old  Frank  is  a  little  too  sanguine.  At  any 
rate,  I've  been  thinking  it  over." 

"So  have  I,"  Fanny  admitted.  "He  seemed  to  be 
certain  it  would  pay  twenty-five  per  cent,  the  first 
year,  and  enormously  more  after  that;  and  I'm  only 
getting  four  on  my  Kttle  principal.  People  are 
making  such  enormous  fortunes  out  of  everything 

to  do  with  motor  cars,  it  does  seem  as  if "    She 

paused.  "Well,  I  told  him  I'd  think  it  over  seri- 

"We  may  turn  out  to  be  partners  and  millionaires 
then,"  Amberson  laughed.  "I  thought  I'd  ask 
FiUgene's  advice." 

"I  wish  you  would,"  said  Fanny.    "He  probably 


knows  exactly  how  much  profit  there  would  be  in 

Eugene's  advice  was  to  "go  slow":  he  thought 
electric  Ughts  for  automobiles  were  "coming — some 
day,"  but  probably  not  until  certain  diflSculties  could 
be  overcome.  Altogether,  he  was  discouraging,  but 
by  this  time  his  two  friends  "had  the  fever"  as 
thoroughly  as  old  Frank  Bronson  himself  had  it; 
for  they  had  been  with  Bronson  to  see  the  hght 
working  beautifully  in  a  machine  shop.  They 
were  already  enthusiastic,  and  after  asking  Eugene's 
opinion  they  argued  with  him,  telling  him  how  they 
had  seen  with  their  own  eyes  that  the  difficulties  he 
mentioned  had  been  overcome.  "Perfectly!"  Fanny 
cried,  "And  if  it  worked  in  the  shop  it's  bound  to 
work  any  place  else,  isn't  it?" 

He  would  not  agree  that  it  was  "bound  to" — ^yet, 
being  pressed,  was  driven  to  admit  that  "it  might  *^ 
and,  retiring  from  what  was  developmg  into  an  ora- 
torical contest,  repeated  a  wanung  about  not  "put- 
ting too  much  into  it." 

George  Amberson  also  laid  stress  on  this  caution 
later,  though  the  Major  had  "financed  him"  again, 
and  he  was  "going  in."  "You  must  be  careful  to 
)«ave  yourself  a  'margin  of  safety,'  Fanny,"  he  said. 


**I'm  confident  that  is  a  pretty  conservative  invest- 
ment of  its  kind,  and  all  the  chances  are  with  us,  but 
you  must  be  careful  to  leave  yourself  enough  to 
fall  back  on,  in  case  anything  should  go  wrong." 

Fanny  deceived  him.  In  the  impossible  event  of 
"anything  going  wrong"  she  would  have  enough 
left  to  "  live  on,"  she  declared,  and  laughed  excitedly, 
for  she  was  having  the  best  time  that  had  come  to 
her  since  Wilbur's  death.  Like  so  many  women  for 
whom  mcmey  has  always  been  provided  without 
their  understanding  how,  she  was  prepared  to  be  a 
thorough  and  irresponsible  plunger. 

Amberson,  in  his  wearier  way,  shared  her  excite- 
ment, and  in  the  winter,  when  the  exploiting 
company  had  been  formed,  and  he  brought  Fanny 
her  importantly  engraved  shares  of  stock,  he  reverted 
to  his  prediction  of  possibilities,  made  when  they 
first  spoke  of  the  new  light. 

"We  seem  to  be  partners,  all  right,"  he  laughed, 
**Now  let's  go  ahead  and  be  millionaires  b^for^ 
Isabel  and  young  George  come  home." 

"When  they  come  home!"  she  echoed  sorrow** 
fully — and  it  was  a  phrase  which  found  an  evasive 
echo  in  Isabel's  letters.  In  these  letters  Isabel  was 
always    planning    pleasant    things    that    she    and 


Fanny  and  the  Major  and  Geoige  and  ''brother 
Greorge**  would  do — ^when  she  and  her  son  came 
home.  ''They'll  find  things  pretty  changed,  I'm 
afraid/'  Fanny  said.    "K  they  ever  do  come  home!" 

Amberson  went  over,  the  next  summer,  and  joined 
his  sister  and  nephew  in  Paris,  where  they  were 
living.  "Isabel  does  want  to  come  home,"  he  told 
Fanny  gravely,  on  the  day  of  his  return,  in  October. 
"She's  wanted  to  for  a  long  while — and  she  ought  to 

come  while  she  can  stand  the  journey "    And  he 

amplified  this  statement,  leaving  Fanny  looking 
startled  and  solemn  when  Lucy  came  by  to  drive 
him  out  to  dinner  at  the  new  house  Eugene  had  just 

This  was  no  white-and-blue  cottage,  but  a  great 
Georgian  picture  in  brick,  five  miles  north  of  Amber* 
son  Addition,  with  four  acres  of  its  own  hedged  land 
between  it  and  its  next  neighbour;  and  Amberson 
laughed  wistfully  as  they  turned  in  between  the 
stone  and  brick  gate  pillars,  and  rolled  up  the 
crushed  stone  driveway.  "I  wonder,  Lucy,  if 
history's  going  on  forever  repeating  itself,"  he  said. 
"  I  wonder  if  this  town's  going  on  building  up  things 
and  rolling  over  them,  as  poor  father  once  said  it 


was  rolling  over  his  poor  old  heart.  It  looks  like 
it:  here's  the  Amberson  Mansion  again,  only  it's 
Georgian  instead  of  nondescript  Romanesque;  but 
it's  just  the  same  Amberson  Mansion  that  my 
father  built  long  before  you  were  bom.  The  only 
difference  is  that  it's  your  father  who's  built  this 
one  now.    It's  all  the  same,  in  the  long  run." 

Lucy  did  not  quite  understand,  but  she  laughed  as 
a  friend  should,  and,  taking  his  arm,  showed  him 
through  vasty  rooms  where  ivory-panelled  walls  and 
trim  window  hangings  were  reflected  dimly  in  dark, 
rugless  floors,  and  the  sparse  furniture  showed  that 
Lucy  had  been  "collecting"  with  a  long  purse. 
"By  Jove!"  he  said.  "You  have  been  going  it! 
Fanny  tells  me  you  had  a  great  *  house-warming' 
dance,  and  you  keep  right  on  being  the  belle  of  the 
ball,  not  any  softer-hearted  than  you  used  to  be. 
Fred  Kinney's  father  says  you've  refused  Fred  so 
often  that  he  got  engaged  to  Janie  Sharon  just  to 
prove  that  someone  would  have  him  in  spite  of  his 
hair.  Well,  the  material  world  do  move,  and  you've 
got  the  new  kind  of  house  it  moves  into  nowadays — 
if  it  has  the  new  price!  And  even  the  grand  old 
expanses  of  plate  glass  we  used  ,to  be  so  proud  of  at 
the  other  Amberson  Mansion — they've  g(me,  too, 


with  the  crowded  heavy  gold  and  red  stuff.  Curious! 
We^ve  still  got  the  plate  glass  windows,  thoi^h  all 
we  can  see  out  of  'em  is  the  smoke  and  the  old 
Johnson  house,  which  is  a  counter-jumper's  boarding- 
house  now,  while  youVe  got  a  view,  and  you  cut  it 
all  up  into  little  panes.  Well,  you're  pretty  re- 
freshingly out  of  the  smoke  up  here." 

"Yes,  for  a  whUe,"  Lucy  laughed.  "Until  it 
comes  and  we  have  to  move  out  farther." 

"No,  you'll  stay  here,"  he  assured  her.  "It  will 
be  somebody  else  who'll  move  out  farther." 

He  continued  to  talk  of  the  house  after  Eugene 
arrived,  and  gave  them  no  account  of  his  journey 
until  they  had  retired  from  the  dinner  table  to 
Eugene's  library,  a  gray  and  shadowy  room,  where 
their  coffee  was  brought.  Then,  equipped  with 
a  cigar,  which  seemed  to  occupy  his  attention, 
Amberson  spoke  in  a  casual  tone  of  his  sister  and 
her  son. 

"I  found  Isabel  as  well  as  usual,"  he  said,  "only 
I'm  afraid  *as  usual'  isn't  particularly  well.  Sydney 
and  Amelia  had  been  up  to  Paris  in  the  spring,  but 
she  hadn't  seen  them.  Somebody  told  her  they  were 
there,  it  seems.  They'd  left  Florence  and  were 
living  in  Rome;  Amelia's  become  a  Catholic  and  is 


said  to  give  gceat  sums  to  charity  and  to  go  about 
^tfa  the  gentry  in  consequence,  but  Sydney's  ailing 
and  lives  in  a  wheel-chair  most  of  the  time.  It 
struck  me  Isabd  ought  to  be  doing  the  same  thing." 

He  paused,  bestowing  minute  care  upon  the  re- 
moval of  the  little  band  from  his  cigar;  and  as  he 
seemed  to  have  concluded  his  narrative,  Eugene  spoke 
out  of  the  shadow  beyond  a  heavily  shaded  lamp: 
**What  do  you  mean  by  that?"  he  asked  quietly. 

^^CHx,  she's  cheerful  enough,"  said  Amberscm,  still 
not  looking  at  either  his  young  hostess  or  her 
father.  ^'At  least/'  he  added,  **she  manages  to 
seem  so.  I'm  afraid  she  hasn't  been  really  well  for 
several  years.  She  isn't  stout  you  know — she 
hasn't  changed  in  looks  much — ^and  she  seems  rather 
alarmingly  short  of  breath  for  a  slender  petson. 
Father's  been  that  way  for  years,  of  course;  but 
never  nearly  so  much  as  Isabel  is  now.  Of  course 
Ae  makes  nothing  of  it,  but  it  seemed  rather  serious 
to  me  when  I  noticed  she  had  to  stop  and  rest 
twice  to  get  up  the  one  short  flight  of  stairs  in  their 
two-floor  apartment.  I  told  heat  I  thought  she 
ought  to  mAke  George  let  her  come  home." 

"*Let  her?'"  Eugene  repeated,  in  a  low  voice. 
^Does  she  want  to?" 


^Sbe  doefli't  mge  iL  George  stems  to  like  IIib 
life  there — ^m  bis  grand,  i^oonqr,  and  peculiar  way; 
and  of  course  shell  never  change  aboat  being 
proud  of  iim  and  all  that — he's  quite  a  swdL  But 
in  q>ite  of  anything  she  said,  rather  than  because,  I 
know  she  does  indeed  want  to  come.  She'd  like 
to  be  with  father,  of  course;  and  I  think  she's — 
well,  she  intimated  one  day  that  she  feared  it  mi^t 
even  happen  that  she  wouldn't  get  to  see  him  again. 
At  the  time  I  thought  she  referred  to  his  age  and 
feebloiess,  but  on  the  boat,  coming  home,  I  re- 
membered the  little  look  of  wistfufaiess,  yet  of 
resignation,  with  whidi  she  said  it,  and  it  struck  me 
all  at  once  that  I'd  been  mistakoi:  I  saw  she  was 
really  thinking  of  her  own  state  of  health." 

^^I  see/'  Eugoie  said,  his  voice  even  lower  than  it 
had  been  before.  *^And  you  say  he  won't  'let'  her 
come  home?" 

Amberson  laughed,  but  still  continued  to  be 
interested  in  his  dgar.  ^'Oh,  I  dcm't  think  he  uses 
force!  He's  very  gentle  with  her.  I  doubt  if  the 
subject  is  mentioned  between  them,  and  yet — ^and 
yet,  knowing  my  interesting  nephew  as  you  do, 
wouldn't  you  think  that  was  about  the  way  to  put 


"Kjaowing  him  as  I  do — ^yes,"  said  Eugene  slowly, 
"  Yes,  I  should  think  that  was  about  the  way  to  put 

A  murmur  out  of  the  shadows  beyond  him — a 
{aint  sound,  musical  and  feminine,  yet  expressive  of 
r  notable  intensity — seemed  to  indicate  that  Lu<y 
was  of  the  same  opinioa. 



Chei'**  was  correct;  but  the  time  came — and 
it  came  in  the  spring  of  the  next  year— 
when  it  was  no  longer  a  question  of  George's 
letting  his  mother  come  home.  He  had  to  bring 
her,  and  to  bring  her  quickly  if  she  was  to  see  her 
father  again;  and  Amberson  had  been  right:  her  dan- 
ger of  never  seeing  him  again  lay  not  in  the  Major's 
feebleness  of  heart  but  in  her  own.  As  it  was, 
George  telegraphed  his  uncle  to  have  a  wheeled  chair 
at  the  station,  for  the  journey  had  been  disastrous, 
and  to  this  hybrid  vehicle,  placed  close  to  the  cai 
platform,  her  son  carried  her  in  his  arms  when  she 
arrived.  She  was  unable  to  speak,  but  patted  her 
brother *s.  and  Fanny's  hands  and  looked  "very 
sweet,"  Fanny  found  the  desperate  courage  to  tell 
her.  She  was  lifted  from  the  chair  into  a  carriage, 
and  seemed  a  little  stronger  as  they  drove  home; 
for  once  she  took  her  hand  from  George's,  and  waved 
it  feebly  toward  the  carriage  window, 

"Changed,"  she  whispered.    "So  changed/* 



**You  mean  tke  town,"  Amberson  said.  "You 
mean  the  old  place  is  changed,  don't  you,  dear?" 

She  smiled  and  moved  her  lips:    "Yes." 

"It'll  change  to  a  happier  place,  old  dear,"  he 
said,  "now  that  you're  ba<*k  in  it,  and  going  to  get 
well  again." 

But  she  only  looked  at  him  wistfully,  her  eyes  a 
tittle  frightened. 

When  the  carriage  stopped,  her  son  carried  her 
mto  the  house,  and  up  the  stairs  to  her  own  rooili, 
where  a  nurse  was  waiting;  and  he  came  out  a 
moment  later,  as  the  doctor  went  in.  At  the  end 
of  the  hall  a  stricken  group  was  clustered:  Amber- 
son,  and  Fanny,  and  the  Major.  George,  (feathly 
pAe  and  speechless,  took  his  grandfather's  hand,  but 
the  oH  gentleman  did  not  seem  to  notice  hia  action. 

"When  are  Aey  gmng  to  let  me  see  my  daughter?  " 
he  asked  quendously .  "  They  told  me  to  keep  out  of 
the  way  while  they  carried  her  in,  because  it  might 
upset  her.  I  wish  they'd  let  me  go  in  and  speak  to 
my  daughter.    I  think  she  wants  to  see  me/* 

He  was  right — ^presently  the  doctor  came  out  and 
beckoned  to  him;  and  the  Major  shuffled  forward, 
leaning  on  a  shaking  cane;  his  figure,  after  all  its 
years  of  proud  soldierliness,  had  grown  stooping 


at  last,  and  his  untrimnied  white  hair  stra^led  over 
the  bade  of  his  collar.  He  looked  old — old  and  di-> 
vested  of  the  worid — as  he  crept  toward  his  daughter's 
room.  Her  vcMce  was  strong^',  for  the  waiting  groiq> 
heard  a  low  ciy  of  traidemess  and  welcome  as  the 
old  man  reached  the  opexi  doorway.  Then  the  door 
was  closed. 

Fanny  touched  her  n^hew's  arm.  '^  Geoige,  you 
must  need  something  to  eat — ^I  know  she'd  want  you 
to.  I've  had  things  ready:  I  knew  she'd  want  mc 
to.  You'd  better  go  down  to  the  dining  room; 
there's  plenty  on  the  table,  waiting  for  you.  She'd 
want  you  to  eat  something." 

He  turned  a  ghastly  face  to  her,  it  was  so  panic- 
stricken.  ^^I  don't  want  anything  to  ^a<  /"  he  said 
savagely.  And  he  began  to  pace  the  floor,  taking 
care  not  to  go  near  Isabel's  door,  and  that  his  foot- 
steps were  muffled  by  the  long,  thick  hall  rug.  After 
a  while  he  went  to  where  Amberson,  with  folded  arms 
and  bowed  head,  had  seated  himself  near  the  front 
window.  "Uncle  George,"  he  said  }ioarsely.  "I 
didn't " 


"  Oh,  my  God,  I  didn't  think  this  thing  the  mattei 
with  her  could  ever  be  serious!    I "    He  gasped.. 


**Wheii  that  doctor  I  had  meet  us  at  the  boat *' 

He  could  uot  go  on. 

Amberson  oiily  nodded  his  head,  and  did  not 
otherwise  change  his  attitude. 

.  .  .  Isabel  lived  through  the  night.  At  eleven 
o'clock  Fanny  came  timidly  to  George  in  his  room. 
** Eugene  is  here,'*  she  whispered.  "He's  down- 
stairs.    He  wants "    She  gulped.     "He  wants 

to  know  if  he  can't  see  her.  I  didn't  know  what  to 
say.  I  said  I'd  see.  I  didn't  know — ^the  doctor 
said " 

"The  doctor  said  we  *must  keep  her  peaceful,'" 
George  said  sharply.  "Do  you  think  that  man's 
coming  would  be  very  soothing?  My  God!  if  it 
hadn't  been  for  him  this  mightn't  have  happened: 
we  could  have  gone  on  living  here  quietly,  and — 
why,  it  would  be  like  taking  a  stranger  into  her  room ! 
She  hasn't  even  spoken  of  him  more  than  twice  in  all 
the  time  we've  been  away.  Doesn't  he  know  how 
sick  she  is?  You  tell  him  the  doctor  said  she  had 
to  be  quiet  and  peaceful.  That's  what  he  did  say, 
isn't  it?" 

Fanny  acquiesced  tearfully.  "I'll  tell  him.  I'll 
tell  him  the  doctor  said  she  was  to  be  kept  very  quiet. 
T — I  didn't  know "    And  she  pottered  out. 


An  hour  later  the  nurse  aiqieued  in  George's  daor- 
way;  she  came  noiselessly,  and  his  bade  was  towaid 
her;  but  he  jumped  as  if  he  had  been  shot,  and  his 
jaw  fell,  he  so  feared  what  she  was  going  to  say. 

^*She  wants  to  see  you." 

The  terrified  mouth  shut  with  a  dick;  and  he  nod- 
ded and  followed  her;  but  she  remained  outside  his 
mother's  room  while  he  went  m. 

Isabel's  eyes  were  dosed,  and  she  did  not  open 
them  or  move  her  head,  but  she  smiled  and  edged 
her  hand  toward  him  as  he  sat  on  a  stool  beside  the 
bed.  He  took  that  slender,  cold  hand,  and  put  it 

^* Darling,  did  you — get  something  to  eat?"    She 
could  only  whisper,  slowly  and  with  difBculty.     It 
was  as  if  Isabel  herself  were  far  away,  and  only  able 
to  signal  what  she  wanted  to  say. 
Yes,  mother." 
All  you — needed?" 

"Yes,  mother." 

She  did  not  speak  i^ain  for  a  time;  then,  "Are 
you  sure  you  didn't — didn't  catch  cold — coming 

"I'm  all  right,  mother." 

"That's  good.  It's  sweet — ^it's  sweet ** 





^  WbAt  is,  mother  dwlingF' 

''To  leel — my  hand  on  your  cheek.  I — ^I  can  feel 

But  tbk  frightened  him  horribly — ^that  she  seemed 
so  glad  she  could  feel  it,  like  a  child  proud  of  some 
miraculous  seeming  thing  accompUshed.  It  fright- 
ened him  so  that  he  could  not  speak,  and  he  feared 
that  ^e  would  know  how  he  trembled;  but  she  was 
unaware,  and  again  was  silent.  Finally  she  spoke 

"I  wonder  if — ^if  Eugene  and  Lucy  know  that 
we've  come — ^home." 

"Fm  sure  they  do." 

"  Has  he — asked  about  me?** 

"  Yes,  he  was  here." 

"Has  he— gone?" 

"Yes,  mother." 

She  sighed  faintly.     "  I'd  like ** 

"What,  mother?" 

"  I'd  like  to  have — ^seen  him. "  It  was  just  audible, 
this  little  regretful  murmur.  Several  minutes  passed 
before  there  was  another.  "Ju.«t — ^just  once,"  she 
whiskered,  and  then  was  still. 

^le  seemed  to  have  fallen  asleep,  and  George 
oioved  to  go,  but  a  faint  pressure  upon  Us  fingem 


detained  him,  and  he  jremained,  with  her  hand  still 
pressed  against  his  cheek.  After  a  while  he  made 
sure  she  was  asleep,  and  moved  again,  to  let  the 
nurse  come  in,  and  this  time  there  was  no  pressure 
of  the  fingers  to  keep  him.  She  was  not  asleep,  but, 
thinking  that  if  he  went  he  might  get  some  rest, 
and  be  better  prepared  for  what  she  knew  was  com- 
ing, she  commanded  those  longing  fingers  of  hers— 
and  let  him  go. 

He  found  the  doctor  standing  with  the  nurse  in 
the  hall;  and,  telling  them  that  his  mother  was 
drowsing  now,  George  went  back  to  his  own  room, 
where  he  was  startled  to  find  his  grandfather  lying 
on  the  bed,  and  his  uncle  leaning  against  the  wall. 
They  had  gone  home  two  hours  before,  arid  he  did 
not  know  they  had  returned. 

"The  doctor  thought  we*d  better  come  oyer," 
Amberson  said,  then  was  silent,  and  George,  shaking 
violently,  sat  down  on  the  edge  of  the  bed.  His 
shaking  continued,  and  from  time  to  time  he  wiped 
heavy  sweat  from  his  forehead. 

The  hours  passed,  and  sometimes  the  old  man  upon 
the  bed  would  snore  a  little,  stop  suddenly,  and  move 
as  if  to  rise,  but  George  Amberson  would  set  a  hand 
upon  his  shoulder,  and  murniur  a  reassuring  word  m 


two.  Now  and  then,  either  uncle  or  nephew  would 
tiptoe  into  the  hall  and  look  toward  Isabel's  room, 
then  come  tiptoeing  back,  the  other  watching  him 

Once  George  gasped  defiantly:  "That  doctor  in. 
New  York  said  she  might  get  better!  Don't  you 
Imow  he  did?    Don't  you  know  he  said  she  might?  '* 

Amberson  made  no  answer. 

Dawn  had  been  murking  through  the  smoky  win- 
dows,  growing  stronger  for  half  an  hour,  when  both 
men  started  violently  at  a  soimd  in  the  hall;  and  the 
Major  sat  up  on  the  bed,  unchecked.  It  was  the  voice 
of  the  nurse  speaking  to  Fanny  Minafer,  and  the 
next  moment,  Fanny  appeared  in  the  doorway,  mak- 
ing contorted  efforts  to  speak. 

Amberson  said  weakly:  "Does  she  want  us — ^to 
come  in?" 

But  Fanny  found  her  voice,  and  uttered  a  long^ 
loud  cry.  She  threw  her  arms  about  George,  and 
sobbed  in  an  agony  of  loss  and  compassion: 

"She  loved  you!"  she  wailed.  "She  loved  youT 
She  loved  you !     Oh,  how  she  did  love  you ! " 

Isabel  had  just  left  them. 


MAJOR  AMBERSON  remained  dry-eyed 
through  the  time  that  followed:  he  knew 
that  this  separation  from  his  dau^ter 
would  be  short;  that  the  separation  which  had  pre« 
ceded  it  was  the  long  one.  He  worked  at  his  ledgers 
no  more  under  his  old  gas  drop-Ught,  but  would  sit  all 
evening  staring  into  the  fire,  in  his  bedroom,  and  not 
speaking  imless  someone  asked  him  a  question.  He 
geemed  almost  unaware  of  what  went  on  around 
him,  and  those  who  were  with  him  thought  him 
dazed  by  Isabel's  death,  guessing  that  he  was  lost 
in  reminiscences  and  vague  dreams.  "Probably  his 
mind  is  full  of  pictures  of  his  youth,  or  the  Civil 
War,  and  the  days  when  he  and  mother  were  young 
married  people  and  all  of  us  children  were  jolly  little 
things — ^and  the  city  was  a  small  town  with  one 
cobbled  street  and  the  others  just  dirt  roads  with 
board  sidewalks."  This  was  George  Amberson's 
<X)njecture,  and  the  others  agreed;  but  they  were 
mistaken.    The  Major  was  engaged  in  the  profound* 



est  thinking  of  his  life.  No  business  plans  which 
had  ever  absorbed  him  could  compare  in  momentous* 
ness  with  the  plans  that  absorbed  him  now,  for  he 
had  to  plan  how  to  enter  the  unknown  country  where 
he  was  not  even  sure  of  being  recognized  as  an  Am< 
berson — ^not  sure  of  anything,  except  that  Isabel 
would  help  him  if  she  could.  His  absorption  pro- 
duced the  outward  effect  of  reverie,  but  of  course  it 
was  not.  The  Major  was  occupied  with  the  first 
really  important  matter  that  had  taken  his  attention 
since  he  came  home  invalided,  after  the  Gettysburg 
campaign,  and  went  into  business;  and  he  realized 
that  everything  which  had  worried  him  or  delighted 
him  during  this  lifetime  betwe^i  then  and  to-'day — 
all  his  buymg  aad  building  an^  trading  and  banking 
— that  it  all  was  trifling  and  waste  beside  what  con- 
cerned him  now. 

He  seldom  wait  out  of  his  room,  and  often  left  un- 
touched the  meals  they  brought  to  him  there;  and 
this  neglect  caused  them  to  shake  their  heads  mourn- 
fully, again  mistaking  for  dazedness  the  profound 
concentration  of  his  mind.  Meanwhile,  the  h'fe  of 
the  little  bereft  group  still  forlornly  centring  upon 
him  began  to  pick  up  again,  as  life  will,  and  to 
emerge    from    its    own    period   of    dazedness.    It 


was  not  Isabel's  father  but  her  son  who  was  really 

A  month  after  her  death  he  walked  abruptly  into 
Fanny's  room,  one  night,  and  found  her  at  her  desk, 
eagerly  adding  columns  of  figures  with  which  she 
had  covered  several  sheets  of  paper.  This  mathe- 
matieal  computation  was  concerned  with  her  future 
income  to  be  produced  by  the  electric  headlight, 
now  just  placed  on  the  general  market;  but  Fanny 
was  ashamed  to  be  discovered  doing  anything  except 
mourning,  and  hastily  pushed  the  sheets  aside,  even 
as  she  looked  over  her  shoulder  to  greet  her  Hollow- 
•eyed  visitor. 

"Geoi^e!     You  startled  me." 

**I  beg  your  pardon  for  not  knocking,"  he  said 
huskily.     "I  didn't  think." 

She  turned  in  her  chair  and  looked  at  him  solici- 
tously.    "Sit  down,  George,  won't  you?" 

"No.     I  just  wanted " 

"I  could  hear  you  walking  up  and  down  in  your 
room,"  said  Fanny.  "You  were  doing  it  ever  since 
dinner,  and  it  seems  to  me  you're  at  it  almost  every 
evening.  I  don't  believe  it's  good  for  you — ^and  I 
know  it  would  worry  your  mother  terribly  if  sh^ 
"  Fanny  hesitated. 



See  here/'  George  said,  breathing  fast,  "I  want 
to  tell  you  once  more  that  what  I  did  was  right. 
How  could  I  have  done  anything  else  but  what  I 
did  do?" 

"About  what,  George?" 

"About  everything!"  he  exclaimed;  and  he  be- 
came vehement.  "I  did  the  right  thing,  I  tell  you  I 
In  heaven's  name,  I'd  like  to  know  what  else  there 
was  for  anybody  in  my  position  to  do!  It  would 
have  been  a  dreadful  thing  for  me  to  just  let  matters 
go  on  and  not  interfere — ^it  would  have  been  terrible! 
What  else  on  earth  was  there  for  me  to  do?  I  had 
to  stop  that  talk,  didn't  I?  Could  a  son  do  less  than 
I  did?  Didn't  it  cost  me  something  to  do  it?  Lucy 
and  I'd  had  a  quarrel,  but  that  would  have  come 
round  in  time-^and  it  meant  the  end  forever  when  I 
turned  her  father  back  from  our  door.  I  knew  what 
it  meant,  yet  I  went  ahead  and  did  it  because  I 
knew  it  had  to  be  done  if  the  talk  was  to  be  stopped^ 
I  took  mother  away  for  the  same  reason.  I  knew 
that  would  help  to  stop  it.  And  she  was  happy 
over  there — she  was  perfectly  happy.  I  tell  you,  I 
think  she  had  a  happy  life,  and  that's  my  only  con- 
solation. She  didn't  live  to  be  old;  she  was  stiU 
beautiful  and  young  looking,  and  I  feel  she'd  rather 


have  gone  before  she  got  old.  She'd  had  a  good 
huabandy  amd  all  the  comfort  and  luxury  that  any- 
body could  have — and  how  could  it  be  cfJled 
anything  but  a  happy  life?  She  was  always  dheer- 
ful,  and  when  I  think  of  her  I  can  always  see  her 
laufirhing — 'I  can  always  hear  that  pr^ty  laugh  of 
hers.  When  I  can  keep  my  mind  off  of  the  trip  home, 
and  that  last  nighty  I  (dways  think  of  her  gay  and 
laughing.  So  how  on  earth  could  she  have  had  any- 
thing but  a  happy  life?  People  that  aren't  happy 
daa^t  look  cheerful  all  the  time,  do  they?  They 
look  unhappy  if  they  are  unhappy;  that's  how  they 
look!  See  here" —  he  faced  her  chaUengingiy — 
**do  you  deny  that  I  did  the  right  thing?" 

"Oh,  I  dcm't  pretend  to  judge,"  Fanny  said 
soothingly,  for  his  voice  and  gesture  both  partook 
of  wildness.     "I  know  you  think  you  did,  Geoige." 

" Think  I  did!'"  he  echoed  violently.  "My  God 
in  heaven!"  And  he  began  to  walk  up  and  down 
liie  floor.  "What  else  was  there  to  do?  What 
choice  did  I  have?  Was  there  any  other  way  of 
stopping  the  talk?"  He  stopped,  close  in  front  of 
her,  gesticulating,  his  voice  harsh  and  loud :  **  Don't 
you  hear  me?  I'm  asking  you:  Was  th^re  any 
other  way  on  earth  of  protecting  her  from  the  talk?** 


Miss  Fanny  locked  away.  ^^It  ^deA  doym  before 
long,  I  thiiik/' she  said  nervously. 

**That  shows  I  was  right,  doesn't  it?''  be  cried. 
"If  I  hadn't  acted  as  I  did,  that  slanderous  old  John- 
son woman  would  have  kept  on  with  her  slanders^' 
she'd  ««t«  be " 

"No,"  Fanny  interrupted.  "She's  dead.  She 
dropped  dead  with  apoplexy  one  day  about  six 
weeks  after  you  left.  I  didn't  mention  it  in  my  let* 
ters  because  I  didn't  want — ^I  thought " 

"  Well,  the  other  people  would  have  kept  <mi,  then. 
They'd  have ^" 

"I  don't  know,"  said  Fanny,  still  averting  her 
troubled  eyes.  "Things  are  so  changed  here, 
George.  The  other  people  you  i^eak  of — one 
hardly  knows  what's  become  of  them.  Of  course 
not  a  great  many  were  doing  the  talking,  and  they — 
well,  some  of  them  are  dead,  and  some  might  as  well 
be — ^you  never  see  them  any  more — and  the  rest, 
whoever  they  were,  are  probably  so  mixed  in  with 
the  crowds  of  new  people  that  seem  never  even  to 
have  heard  of  its — and  I'm  sure  we  certainly  never 
heard  of  them — and  people  seem  to  forget  things  so 
SKxm — they  seem  to  forget  anything.  You  can't 
imagine  how  things  have  changed  here!" 


Geotge  gaiped  paiiiiiilly  before  he  oooU  qpeak. 
^  You — you  mean  to  sit  there  and  tell  me  that  if  Vd 

just  let  things  go  on Oh!"    He  swung  away» 

waHdng  the  floor  again.  *'I  tdl  you  I  did  the  only 
right  thing!  If  you  don't  think  so,  why  in  the  name 
of  heavoi  can't  you  say  what  else  I  should  have 
<ione?'  It's  easy  enough  to  criticize,  but  the  person 
^who  nHUicizes  a  man  ought  at  least  to  teD  him  what 
else  he  should  have  done!    You  think  I  was  wrong!" 

"I'm  not  saying  so,"  she  said. 

^^You  did  at  the  time!"  he  cried.  "You  said 
enough  then,  I  think!  Well,  what  have  you  to  sa3 
now,  if  you're  so  sure  I  was  wrong?  " 

"Nothing,  George." 

"It's  only  because  you're  afraid  to!"  he  said,  and 
he  went  on  with  a  sudden  bitter  divination :  "  You're 
reproaching  yourself  with  what  you  had  to  do  with 
all  that;  and  you're  trying  to  make  up  for  it  by  doing 
and  saying  what  you  think  mother  would  want  you  to, 
and  you  think  I  couldn't  stand  it  if  I  got  to  thinking 
I  might  have  done  diflFerently.  Oh,  I  knowr 
That's  exactly  what's  in  your  mind :  you  do  think  I 
was  wrong!  So  does  Uncle  George.  I  challenged 
him  about  it  the  other  day,  and  he  answered  just  as 
you're  answering — evaded,  and  tried  to  be  gentle  f 


I  don't  care  to  be  handled  with  gloves!  I  tell  you 
I  was  right,  and  I  don't  need  any  coddling  by  people 
that  think  I  wasn't!  And  I  suppose  you  believe 
I  was  wrong  not  to  let  Morgan  see  her  that  last 
night  when  he  came  here,  and  she — ^she  was  dying. 
If  you  do,  why  in  the  name  of  God  did  you  come 
and  ask  me?  Yoii  could  have  taken  him  in!  She 
did  want  to  see  him.     She " 

Miss  Fanny  looked  startled.     "You  think- 


"She  told  me  so!\"  And  the  tortured  young  man 
choked.  "She  said — *just  once.'  She  said  *I'd 
like  to  have  seen  him — ^just  once!*  She  meant — to 
tell  him  good-bye!  That^s  what  she  meant!  And 
you  put  this  on  me,  too;  you  put  this  responsibility 
on  me!  But  I  tell  you,  and  I  told  Uncle  George, 
that  the  responsibility  isn't  all  mine!  If  you  were 
so  sure  I  was  wrong  all  the  time — when  I  took  her 
away,  and  when  I  turned  Morgan  out — if  you  were 
so  sure,  what  did  you  let  me  do  it  for?  You  and 
Uncle  George  were  grown  people,  both  of  you, 
weren't  you?  You  were  older  than  I,  and  if  you 
were  so  sure  you  were  wiser  than  I,  why  did  you  just 
stand  aroimd  with  your  hands  hanging  down,  and 
let  me  go  ahead?  You  could  have  stopped  it  if  it 
was  wrong,  couldn't  you?" 


Fanny  shook  her  head.  "No,  George/'  she  said 
slowly.  "Nobody  could  have  stopp^  you.  You 
were  too  strong,  and " 

"And  what?"  he  demanded  loudly. 

"And  she  loved  you — too  well.*' 

George  stared  at  her  hard,  then  his  lower  Up  began 
to  move  convulsively,  and  he  set  his  teeth  upon  it 
but  could  not  check  its  frantic  twitching. 

He  ran  out  of  the  room. 

She  sat  still,  listening.  He  had  plunged  into  his 
mother's  room,  but  no  sound  came  to  Fanny's  ears 
after  the  sharp  closing  of  the  door;  and  presently 
she  rose  and  stepped  out  into  the  hall — ^but  could 
hear  nothing.  The  heavy  black  walnut  door  of 
Isabel's  room,  as  Fanny's  troubled  eyes  remained 
fixed  upon  it,  seemed  to  become  darker  and  vaguer; 
the  polished  wood  took  the  distant  ceflkig  light,  at 
the  end  of  the  hall,  in  dim  reflections  whidi  became 
mysterious;  and  to  Fanny's  disturbed  mind  the 
single  sharp  point  of  light  on  the  bronze  door-knob 
was  like  a  continuous  sharp  cry  in  the  stillness  of  ni^t. 
What  interview  was  sealed  away  from  human  eye 
and  ear  within  the  lonely  darkness  on  the  other  side  of 
that  door — in  that  darkness  where  Isabel's  own  spe- 
cial chairs  were,  and  her  own  special  books »  and  the 


two  grent  walnut  wardrobes  filled  with  her  drei|sesai»d 
wraps?  What  tragic  argument  might  be  there  vsijnfy 
striving  to  confute  the  gentle  dead?  ''  la  God V  mitiie, 
what  else  could  I  have  done?''  F^  hi9  mL^Jbhar-a 
iimnutltble  silence  was  ^  surely  answering  him  as 
Isabel  in  life  would  never  have  ajousweired  hiia»  and 
he  was  beginning  to  understand  how  eloqii^^nt  the 
dead  can  be.  They  cannot  st<^  their  ^qu^ace»  no 
matter  how  they  have  loved  the  living:  ike^  cutwoi 
choose.  And  so,  no  matter  in  what  ^^ouy  G^rge 
should  cry  out,  "What  else  could  I  have  dwe?" 
and  to  the  end  ot  his  life  no  matter  how  often  he 
made  that  wild  appeal,  Isabel  was  doomed  tp  answer 
him  with  the  wistful,  faint  murmur: 

"Fd  like  to  have-^een  him^  Just-^just  onoe." 
A  ehe^Hful  darkey  went  by  the  houite,  Icmdly  a^d 
tunelessly  whistling  some  broken  thoughts  upon 
women,  fried  food  and  gin;  then  a  group  of  high* 
school  boys,  returning  homeward  alter  important 
initiations,  were  heard  skylarking  along  the  aidewalk, 
rattling  sticks  on  the  fences,  squawkii^g  hoarsely,  and 
even  attempting  to  sing  in  the  $hoddng  new  voices 
of  uncompleted  adolescence.  For  no  reason,  and 
just  as  a  poultry  yard  falls  into  causeless  agitation, 
they  stopped  in  front  of  the  house,  and  for  half  an 


hour  piodoced  the  effect  of  a  noisy  multitiMie  in  fuE 

To  flie  woman  standing  upstairs  in  flie  hall,  this 
was  afanost  unbearable;  and  she  felt  that  she  would 
have  to  go  down  and  call  to  them  to  stop;  but  she 
Was  too  timid,  and  after  a  time  went  bac^  to  her 
foom,  and  sat  at  her  desk  again.  She  left  the  door 
ape^  and  frequently  ^anced  out  into  the  haD,  but 
gradually  became  once  more  absorbed  in  the  figures 
idiich  represented  her  prospective  income  from  her 
great  plunge  in  electric  lights  for  automobiles.  She 
did  not  hear  George  return  to  his  own  room. 

.  .  .  A  superstitious  person  mi^t  have 
thought  it  unfortunate  that  her  partner  in  this  spec- 
ulative industry  (as  in  Wilbur's  disastrous  rolling- 
mills)was  that  charming  but  too  haphazardous  man 
of  the  world,  George  Amberson.  He  was  one  of 
those  optimists  who  believe  that  if  you  put  money 
into  a  great  many  enterprises  one  of  them  is  sure  to 
turn  out  a  fortune,  and  therefore,  in  order  to  find 
the  lucky  one,  it  is  only  necessary  to  go  into  a  large 
enough  number  of  them.  Altogether  gallant  in 
spirit,  and  beautifully  game  under  catastrophe,  he 
had  gone  into  a  great  many,  and  the  unanimity  of 
their  **bad  luck/*  as  he  called  it,  gave  him  one 


^iliin  to  be  a '  distinguished  perkin,  if  he  had  no 
othfer.  Ill  business  Ke  ii^as  ill  fated  wi€h  a  con- 
sistency which  made  him,  in  that  alone,  a  remark- 
able man;  and  he  declared,  with  some  earnestness, 
that  there  was  no  accounting  for  it  except  by  the  fact 
that  there  had  been  so  much  good  luck  in  his  family 
before  he  was  bom  that  something  had  to  balance  it. 

"You  ought  to  have  thought  of  my  record  and 
stayed  out/'  he  told  Fanny,  one  day  the  next  spring, 
when  the  affairs  of  the  headlight  company  had  begun 
to  look  discouraging.  "I  feel  the  old  familiar  sink' 
ing  that's  attended  all  my  previous  efforts  to  prove 
myself  a  business  genius.  I  think  it  must  be  some- 
thing like  the  feeling  an  aerpnaut  has  when  his 
balloon  bursts,  and,  looking  down,  he  sees  below 
him  the  old  home  farm  wherfe  he  used  to  live — ^I 
mean  the  feeling  he'd  have  just  before  he  flattened 
out  in  that  same  old  clay  barnyard.  Things  do 
look  bleak,  and  I'm  only  glad  you  didn't  go  into  this 
confounded  thing  to  the  extent  I  did." 

Miss  Fanny  grew  pink.  "But  it  mitst  go  right!" 
she  protested.  "We  saw  with  our  own  eyes  how 
perfectly  it  worked  in  the  shop.  The  light  was  iso 
blight  no  one  could  face  it,  and  so  there  canH  be 
any  reason  for  it  not  to  work.    It  sim.ply— — ^** 


^'Oby  you'ie  li^t  about  that,'*  Amberaoii  said. 
*^ It  oertaiiily  was  a  perfect  thmg — in  the  shop!  The 
only  thing  we  didn't  know  was  how  fast  an  autcK 
mobile  had  to  go  to  keep  the  light  going.  It  appears 
that  this  was  a  matter  of  smne  importance." 

"Well,  how  fast  does  one  have  to " 

"To  keep  the  light  from  going  entirely  out,"  he 
informed  her  with  dabcN^te  deliberation,  "it  is 
computed  by  those  enthusiasts  who  have  boi^ht  our 
product — and  subsequently  returned  it  to  us  and 
got  th^  moacfy  back — they  compute  that  a  motor 
car  must  maintain  a  speed  of  tw^ity-five  miles  an 
hour,  or  else  there  won't  be  any  light  at  all.  To 
make  the  illuminati<Ni  bright  enough  to  be  noticed 
by  an  approaching  automobile,  they  state  the  speed 
must  be  more  than  thirty  miles  an  hour.  At  thirty- 
five,  objects  in  the  path  of  the  light  b^in  to  become 
visible;  at  forty  they  are  revealed  distinctly;  and  at 
fifty  and  above  we  have  a  real  headlight.  Un- 
fortunately many  people  don't  care  to  drive  that 
fast  at  all  times  after  dusk,  especially  in  the  traffic, 
or  where  policemen  are  likely  to  become  objection- 

"Bu*  think  of  that  test  on  the  road  when  we " 

"That  test  was  lovely,"  he  admitted.     "The 



inventor  mude  us  happy  with  ibis  oratoiy,  and  you 
and  Frank  Bronson  and  I  went  whblmg  through  the 
night  at  a  sq^eed  that  thrilled  us.  it  was  an  in- 
toxioating  MOisation:  we  were  intoxicated  by  the 
lights,  the  lights  and  the  music.  We  m»st  never 
forget  that  drive,  with  the  090I  wind  kissing  our 
cheeks  and  the  road  lit  up  ior  miles  ahead.  We 
Bwst  never  {oeget  it-^and  we  never  shoU.    It  cost 


"But  something's  got  to  be  done." 

"It  has,  indeed!  My  something  woidd  seem  to  be 
leaving  my  wvutch  at  my  uncle's.    Luckily,  you " 

The  pink  of  Fanay's  cheeks  became  deeper.  "But 
isn't  that  man  gom^'  to  do  anything  to  tenaedy  it? 
Can't  he  try  to " 

"He  oaoL  try,"  said  Amberson.  "He  is  trying,  in 
Eact.  I've  sat  in  the  shop  watching  him  try  ior 
several  beautiEul  afternoons,  while  outside  the 
windows  all  Nature  was  fragrant  with  spring  and 
smoke.  He  hums  ragtime  to  himself  as  he  tries,  and 
I  think  his  mind  is  wandering  to  something  else  less 
tedious — ^to  some  new  invention  in  which  he'd  take 
more  interest." 

"But  you  mustn't  let  him,"  die  cried.  "You 
must  make  him  keep  on  trying!" 


'^Oh,  yes.  He  understands  that's  wliat  I  sit  ther^ 
for.    rU  keep  sitting!" 

However,  in  spite  of  the  time  he  spent  sitting  in 
the  shop,  worrying  the  inventor  of  the  fractious  light, 
Amberscm  found  opportunity  .to  worry  himself  about 
another  matter  of  business.  This  was  the  settle* 
meht  of  Isabel's  estate. 

"It's  curious  about  the  deed  to  her  house,"  he 
said  to  his  nephew.  "You're  absolutely  sure  it 
wasn't  among  her  papers?" 

"Mother  didn't  have  any  papers,"  Greorge  told 
him.  "None  at  all.  All  she  ever  had  to  do  with 
business  was  to  deposit  the  cheques  grandfather 
gave  her  and  then  write  her  own  cheques  against 

"The  deed  to  the  house  was  never  recorded," 
Amberson  said  thoughtfully.  "I've  been  over  to  the 
courthouse  to  see.  I  asked  father  if  he  never  gave 
her  one,  and  he  didn't  seem  able  to  understand  me 
at  first.  Then  he  finally  said  he  thought  he  must 
have  given  her  a  deed  long  ago;  but  he  wasn't  sure. 
I  rather  think  he  never  did.  I  think  it  would  be  just 
as  well  to  get  him  to  execute  one  now  in  your  favour. 
I'll  speak  to  him  about  it." 

George  sighed.     "I  don't  think  I'd  bother  him 


about  it:  the  house  is  mine,  and  you  and  I  under- 
stand that  it  is.  That's  enough  for  me,  and  there 
isn't  likely  to  be  much  trouble  between  you  and  me 
when  we  come  to  settling  poor  grandfather's  estate. 
I've  just  been  with  him,  and  I  think  it  would  only 
confuse  him  for  you  to  speak  to  him  about  it  again. 
I  notice  he  seems  distressed  if  anybody  tries  to  get 
his  attention — ^he's  a  long  way  off,  somewhere,  and 
he  likes  to  stay  that  way.  I  think — I  think  mother 
wouldn't  want  us  to  bother  him  about  it;  I'm  sure 
she'd  tell  us  to  let  him  alone.  He  looks  so  white  and 

Amberson  shook  his  head.  "Not  much  whiter 
and  queerer  than  you  do,  young  fellow!  You'd 
better  begin  to  get  some  air  and  exercise  and  quit 
hanging  about  in  the  house  all  day.  I  won't  bother 
him  any  more  than  I  can  help;  but  I'll  have  the  deed 
made  out  ready  for  his  signature." 

"I  wouldn't  bother  him  at  all.    I  don't  see " 

"You  might  see,"  said  his  uncle  uneasily.  "The 
estate  is  just  about  as  involved  and  mixed-up  as  an 
estate  can  well  get,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge;  and 
I  haven't  helped  it  any  by  what  he  let  me  have  for 
this  infernal  headlight  scheme  which  has  finally 
gone    trolloping   forever    to    where    the    woodbine 


Old  Sam,  shufliing  in  with  the  breakfast  tray, 
found  the  Major  in  his  accustomed  easy-chair  by  the 
fireplace — and  yet  even  the  old  darkey  could  see 
instantly  that  the  Major  was  not  there. 


WHEN  the  great  Amberson  Estate  went  into 
court  for  settlement,  "there  wasn't  any/* 
George  Amberson  said — that  is,  when  the 
settlement  was  concluded  there  was  no  estate.  "I 
guessed  it,"  Amberson  went  on.  "As  an  expert  on 
prosperity,  my  career  is  disreputable,  but  as  a  prophet 
of  calamity  I  deserve  a  testimonial  banquet.'*  He 
reproached  himself  bitterly  for  not  having  long  ago 
discovered  that  his  father  had  never  given  Isabel 
a  deed  to  her  house.  "And  those  pigs,  Sydney  and 
Amelia!"  he  added,  for  this  was  another  thing  he 
was  bitter  about.  "They  won't  do  anything.  I'm 
sorry  I  gave  them  the  opportunity  of  making  a  pol- 
ished refusal.  Ameha's  letter  was  about  half  in 
Italian;  she  couldn't  remember  enough  ways  of  saying 
no  in  English.  One  has  to  live  quite  a  long  while  to 
realize  there  are  people  like  that!  The  estate  was 
badly  crippled,  even  before  they  took  out  their 
*  third,'  and  the  'third'  they  took  was  the  only  good 
part  of  the  rotten  apple.     Well,  I  didn't  ask  them  for 



restitution  on  my  own  account,  and  at  least  it  will 
save  you  some  trouble,  young  George.  Never  waste 
any  time  writing  to  them;  you  mustn't  count  on 

"I  don%"  George  said  quietly.  **I  don't  count 
on  aaything." 

"Oh,  we'll  not  feel  that  things  are  quite  desper- 
ate," Amberson  laughed,  but  not  with  great  cheer- 
fuhiess.  "We'll  survive,  Georgie — you  will,  es- 
pecially.  For  my  part  I'm  a  little  too  old  and  too 
accustomed  to  fall  back  on  somebody  else  for  supplies 
to  start  a  big  fight  with  life:  I'll  be  cont^it  with  just 
surviving,  and  I  can  do  it  on  an  eighteai-hundred- 
dollar-a-year  consulship.  An  ex-congressman  can 
always  be  pretty  sure  of  getting  some  such  job,  and  I 
hear  from  Washington  the  matter's  about  settled. 
I'll  live  pleasantly  enough  with  a  pitcher  of  ice  under 
a  palm  tree,  and  black  folks  to  wait  on  me — that 
part  of  it  will  be  like  home — and  I'll  manage  to  send 
you  fifty  dollars  every  now  and  then,  after  I  once 
get  settled.  So  much  for  me!  But  you — of  course 
you've  had  a  poor  training  for  making  your  own 
way,  but  you're  only  a  boy  after  all,  and  the  stuff 
of  the  old  stock  is  in  you.  It'll  come  out  and  do 
something.     I'll  never  forgive  myself  about  that; 


deed:  it  would  have  given  you  sometliing  substantial 
to  start  with.  Still,  you  have  a  little  tiny  bit,  and 
you'll  have  a  little  tiny  salary,  too;  and  of  course  your 
Aunt  Fanny's  here,  and  she's  got  something  you  can 
fall  back  on  if  you  get  too  pinched,  until  I  can  begin 
to  send  you  a  dribble  now  and  then." 

George's  "little  tiny  bit"  was  six  himdred  dollars 
which  had  come  to  him  from  the  sale  of  his  mother's 
furniture;  and  the  "little  tiny  salary"  was  eight  dol- 
lars a  week  which  old  Frank  Bronson  was  to  pay  him 
for  services  as  a  clerk  and  student-at-law.  Old 
Frank  would  have  offered  more  to  the  Major's 
grandson,  but  since  the  death  of  that  best  of  clients 
and  his  own  experience  with  automobile  headhghts, 
he  was  not  certain  of  being  able  to  pay  more  and  at 
the  same  time  settle  his  own  small  bills  for  board 
and  lodging.  George  had  accepted  haughtily,  and 
thereby  removed  a  burden  from  his  uncle's  mind. 

Amberson  himself,  however,  had  not  even  a  "  tiny 
bit";  though  he  got  his  consular  appointment;  and 
to  take  him  to  his  post  he  found  it  necessary  to  bor- 
row two  hundred  of  his  nephew's  six  hundred  dollars. 
"It  makes  me  sick,  George,"  he  said.  "But  I'd 
better  get  there  and  get  that  salary  started.  Of 
course  Eugene  would  do  anything  in  the  world,  and 


the  fact  is  he  wanted  to,  but  I  felt  that — ^ah — undei 
the  circumstances " 

"Never!"   Geoi^e  exclaimed,  growing  red.     "I 

can't  imagine  one  of  the  family "    He  paused, 

not  finding  it  necessary  to  explain  that  "the  family  " 
shouldn't  turn  a  man  from  the  door  and  then  accept 
favours  from  him.     "I  wish  you'd  take  more." 

Amberson  declined.  "One  thing  I'll  say  for  you, 
young  George;  you  haven't  a  stingy  bone  in  your 
body.  That's  the  Amberson  stock  in  you — ^and  I 
like  it!" 

He  added  something  to  this  praise  of  his  nephew  on 
the  day  he  left  for  Washington.  He  was  not  to  re- 
turn,  but  to  set  forth  from  the  capital  on  the  long 
journey  to  his  post.  George  went  with  him  to  the 
station,  and  their  farewell  was  lengthened  by  the 
train's  being  several  minutes  late. 

"I  may  not  see  you  again,  Georgie,"  Amberson 
said;  and  his  voice  was  a  little  husky  as  he  set  a  kind 
hand  on  the  young  man's  shoulder.  "It's  quite 
probable  that  from  this  time  on  we'll  only  know 
each  other  by  letter — ^until  you're  notified  as  my  next 
of  kin  that  there's  an  old  valise  to  be  forwarded  to 
you,  and  perhaps  some  dusty  curios  from  the  con- 
sulate mantelpiece.    Well,  it's  an  odd  way  for  us 


to  be  saying  good-bye :  one  wouldn't  have  tkougbt  it, 
even  a  few  years  ago,  but  here  we  are,  two  gentlemen 
of  elegant  appearance  in  a  state  of  bustitude.  We 
can't  ever  tell  what  will  happen  at  all,  can  We?  Once 
I  stood  where  we're  stoiiding  ndw,  to  say  good-bye 
!x)  a  pretty  girl — only  it  was  in  the  old  stiktton  before 
this  was  built,  and  we  called  it  the  *det>6t/  She'd 
been  visiting  your  mother,  before  Isabel  was  married, 
and  I  was  wild  about  her^  and  she  admitted  she 
didn't  mind  that.  In  fact,  we  decided  we  couldn't 
live  without  each  other,  and  we  were  to  be  married 
But  she  had  to  go  abroad  first  with  her  father,  and 
when  we  came  to  say  good-bye  we  knew  we  wcmldn't 
see  each  other  again  for  almost  a  year.  I  thought 
I  couldn't  live  through  it— and  she  stood  here  crying. 
Well,  I  don't  even  know  where  she  lives  now,  or  if 
she  is  living — ^and  I  only  ha|ipen  to  think  of  her  some- 
times when  I'm  here  at  the  station  waiting  for  a  train. 
If  she  ever  thinks  of  me  she  probably  imagines  I'm 
still  dancing  in  the  ballroom  at  the  Amberson  Man- 
sion, and  she  probably  thinks  of  the  Mansion  as  still 
beautiful — still  the  finest  house  in  town.  life  and 
money  both  behave  like  loose  quicksilver  in  a  nest 
of  cracks.  And  when  they're  gone  we  can't  tell 
where — or  what  the  devil  we  did  with  'em!    But  I 


in  ny  mm— bridle  tkoe  isn't  much  time 
left  lor  etther  ol  us  to  get  embamssed  about  it — I 
beiieTe  m  ny  tbat  Fve  always  been  food  id  you, 
Geofgie,  but  I  can't  aay  tbat  I  ahrays  liked  you 
Sometimes  I've  felt  you  were  distinctly  not  an  ae 
quired  taste.    Until  latdy,  one  had  to  be  IcMid  ol 
you  just  ifoterafl^ — this  isn't  very '  tactful ,  *  of  coursi' 
— for  if  be  didn't,  wdl^  be  wouldn't!    We  all  qK>iled 
you  terribly  when  you  were  a  little  boy  and  let  you 
grow  up  en  prince — and  I  must  say  you  took  to  it! 
But  you've  received  a  pretty  heavy  jolt,  and  I  had 
eaau^  ci  your  dispositkm,  myself,  at  your  age,  to 
understand  a  little  of  what  cocksure  youth  has  ta 
go  through  inside  when  it  finds  that  it  can  make  ter 
rible  mistakes.    Poor  old  feDow!    You  get   bolii 
kinds  of  jolts  togetilier,  spiritual  and  material — ami 
you've  taken  them  pretty  quietly  and — ^well,  with 
my  train  coming  into  the  shed,  you'll  forgive  me  for 
saying  that  there  have  been  times  when  I  thought 
you  ought  to  be  hanged— -but  I've  always  been  fond 
of  you,  and  now  I  like  you !    And  just  for  a  last  word : 
there  may  be  somebody  else  in  this  town  who's  al< 
ways  felt  about  you  like  that — fond  of  you,  I  mean, 
no  matter  how  much  it  seemed  you  ought  to  be 
hanged.    You  might  try Hello,  I  must  run.    FU 


send  back  the  money  as  fast  as  they  pay  me — so, 
good-bye  and  God  bless  you,  Georgie!" 

He  passed  through  the  gates,  waved  his  hat  cheer- 
ily from  the  other  side  of  the  iron  screen,  and  was 
lost  from  sight  in  the  hurrying  crowd.  And  to  he 
disappeared,  an  unexpected  poignant  loneliness  fell 
upon  his  nephew  so  heavily  and  so  suddenlj^  that 
he  had  no  energy  to  recoil  from  the  shock.  H 
seemed  to  him  that  the  last  fragment  of  his  familiar 
world  had  disappeared,  leaving  him  all  alone  for- 

He  walked  homeward  slowly  through  what  ap- 
peared to  be  the  strange  streets  of  a  strange  city;  and, 
as  a  matter  of  fact,  the  city  was  strange  to  him.  He 
had  seen  little  of  it  during  his  years  in  college,  and 
then  had  followed  the  long  absence  and  his  tragic 
return.  Since  that  be  had  -been  "scarcely  outdoors 
at  all,''  as  Fanny  complained,  warning  him  that  his 
health  would  suffer,  and  he  had  been  downtown 
only  in  a  closed  carriage.  He  had  not  realized 
the  great  change. 

The  streets  were  thunderous;  a  vast  energy  heaved 
under  the  universal  coating  of  dinginess.  George 
walked  through  the  begrimed  crowds  of  hurrying 
strangers  and  saw  no  face  that  he  remembered.  Great 


numbers  of  the  faces  were  even  of  a  kind  he  did  not 
remember  ever  to  have  seen;  they  were  partly  like 
the  old  type  that  his  boyhood  knew,  and  partly  like 
types  he  knew  abroad.  He  saw  German  eyes  with 
American  wrinkles  at  their  comers;  he  saw  Irish 
eyes  and  Neapolitan  eyes,  Roman  eyes,  Tuscw 
eyes,  eyes  of  Lombardy,  of  Savoy,  Hmigarian  eyes, 
Balkan  eyes,  Scandinavian  eyes — all  with  a  queei 
American  kK>k  in  them.  He  saw  Jews  who  had  be^i 
German  Jews,  Jews  who  had  been  Russian  Jews, 
Jews  who  had  been  Polish  Jews  but  were  no  longer 
German  or  Russian  or  Polish  Jews.  All  the  people 
were  soiled  by  the  smoke-mist  through  which  they 
hurried,  under  the  heavy  sky  that  hung  close 
upon  the  new  skyscrapers;  and  nearly  all  seemed 
harried  by  something  impending,  though  here  and 
there  a  woman  with  bundles  would  be  laughing  to  a 
companion  about  some  adventure  of  the  department 
stores,  or  perhaps  an  escape  from  the  charging  traffic 
of  the  streets — and  not  infrequently  a  girl,  or  a  free- 
and-easy  young  matron,  found  time  to  throw  an  en- 
couraging look  to  George. 

He  took  no  note  of  these,  and,  leaving  the  crowded 
sidewalks,  turned  north  into  National  Avenue,  and 
presently  reached  the  quieter  but  no  less  begrimed 


v^OB  of  smaller  shops  aaid  old-fashioned  houses. 
Those  latter  had  been  the  homes  of  his  boyhood  play- 
mates; old  friends  of  his  grandfather  had  lived  here; — 
in  this  alley  he  had  fought  with  two  boys  at  the 
same  time,  and  whipped  them;  in  that  frcmt  yard  he 
had  been  successfully  teased  into  temporary  insanity 
by  a  Sunday-school  class  of  pinky  little  girls.  On 
that  sagging  porch  a  laughing  woman  had  fed  him 
and  other  boys  with  doughnuts  and  gingerbread; 
yonder  he  saw  the  staggered  reUcs  of  the  iron  picket 
f^ice  he  had  made  his  white  pony  jump»  on  a  dare, 
and  in  the  shabby,  stone-faced  house  behind  the 
fence  he  had  gone  to  children's  parties,  and,  when  he 
was  a  little  older  he  had  danced  there  often,  and  fallen 
in  love  with  Mary  Sharon,  and  kissed  her,  appar- 
ently by  force,  imder  the  stairs  in  the  hall.  The 
double  front  doors,  of  meaninglessly  carved  walnut, 
once  so  giossUy  varnished,  had  been  painted  smoke 
gray,  but  the  smoke  grime  showed  repulsively,  even 
on  the  smoke  gray;  and  over  the  doors  a  smoked  sign 
proclaimed  the  place  to  be  a  "Stag  Hotel." 

Other  houses  had  become  boarding-houses  too 
genteel  for  signs,  but  many  were  franker,  some  offer- 
ing  "board  by  the  day,  week  or  meal,"  and  some, 
more  laconic,  contenting  themselves  with  the  label: 


'"Rooms."  One,  having  torn  out  part  of  jm  olA 
stone-trimmed  bay  window  for  purposes  of  oomm^* 
dal  diq>lay,  showed  forth  two  suspended  pettiooats 
and  a  pair  of  oyster-cdouied  flannel  tious»s  to 
prove  the  daims  of  its  black-and-gilt  sign:  *' French 
Cleaning  and  Dye  House."  Its  next  neighbour  also 
sported  a  remodelled  front  and  permitted  no  doubt 
that  its  mission  in  life  was  to  attend  cosily  upon 
death:  ""J.  M.  Bolsener.  Caskets.  The  Funeral 
Home."  And  beyond  that,  a  plam  old  honest 
four-square  gray-painted  brick  house  was  flamboy- 
antly decorated  with  a  great  gilt  scroll  on  the  railing 
of  the  old-fashioned  veranda:  '^Mutual  Benev't 
Order  Cavaliers  and  Dames  of  Purity."  This  waa 
the  old  Minafer  house. 

George  passed  it  without  perceptibly  wincing;  in 
fact,  he  held  his  head  up»  and  except  for  his  gravity 
of  coimtenance  and  the  prison  pallor  he  had  ac- 
quired by  too  constantly  remaining  indoors,  there 
was  little  to  warn  an  acquaintance  that  he  was  not 
precisely  .the  same  George  Amberson  Minafer  known 
aforetime.  He  was  still  so  magnificent,  indeed,  that 
there  came  to  his  ears  a  waft  of  comment  from  a 
passing  automobile.  This  was  a  fearsome  red  car, 
glittering  in  brass,  with  half-a-dozen  young  people 


in  it  whose  motorism  had  reached  an  extreme  mani- 
festation in  dress.  The  ladies  of  this  party  were 
favourably  affected  at  sight  of  the  pedestrian  upon 
the  sidewalk,  and,  as  the  machine  was  moving 
slowly,  and  close  to  the  curb,  they  had  time  to  ob- 
serve him  in  detail,  which  they  did  with  a  frankness 
not  pleasing  to  the  object  of  their  attentions.  "One 
sees  so  many  nice-looking  people  one  doesn't  know 
nowadays,"  said  the*  youngest  of  the  young  ladies. 
"This  old  town  of  ours  is  really  getting  enormous. 
I  shoiddn't  mind  knowing  who  he  is." 

"7  don't  know,"  the  youth  beside  her  said,  loudly 
enough  to  be  heard  at  a  considerable  distance.  "1 
don't  know  who  he  is,  but  from  his  looks  I  know  who 
he  thinks  he  is:  he  thinks  he's  the  Grand  Duke  Cuth- 
bert!"  There  was  a  biu'st  of  tittering  as  the  car 
gathered  speed  and  rolled  away,  with  the  girl  con- 
tinuing to  look  back  until  her  scandalized  compan- 
ions forced  her  to  turn  by  pulling  her  hood  over  her 
face.  She  made  an  impression  upon  George,  so  deep 
a  one,  in  fact,  that  he  unconsciously  put  his  emotion 
into  a  muttered  word : 


This  was  the  last  "walk  home"  he  was  ever  to 
take  by  the  route  he  was  now  following:  up  National 


Avenue  to  Amberson  Addition  and  the  two  big  old 
houses  at  the  foot  of  Amberson  Boulevard;  for  to- 
night would  be  the  last  night  that  he  and  Fanny 
were  to  spend  in  the  house  which  the  Major  had  for- 
gotten to  deed  to  Isabel.  To^moirow  they  were  to 
^*move  out,"  and  George  was  to  begin  his  work  in 
Bronson's  office.  He  had  not  come  to  this  collapse 
without  a  fierce  struggle — ^but  the  struggle  was  in- 
ward, and  the  rolling  world  was  not  agitated  by  it, 
and  rolled  calmly  on.  For  of  all  the  "ideals  of  life'* 
which  the  world,  in  its  rolling,  inconsiderately  flat- 
tens out  to  nothingness,  the  least  likely  to  retain  a 
profile  is  that  ideal  which  depends  upon  inheriting 
money.  George  Amberson,  in  spite  of  his  record  of 
failures  in  business,  had  spoken  shrewdly  when  he 
realized  at  last  that  money,  like  life,  was  "like 
quicksilver  in  a  nest  of  cracks."  And  his  nephew 
had  the  awakening  experience  of  seeing  the  great 
Amberson  Estate  vanishing  into  such  a  nest— in  a 
twinkling,  it  seemed,  now  that  it  was  indeed  so  utterly 

His  uncle  had  suggested  that  he  might  write  to 
college  friends;  perhaps  they  could  help  him  to  some- 
thing better  than  the  prospect  oflFered  by  Bronson's 
office;  but  George  flushed  and  shook  his  head,  with« 


out  e}q>laiiiiiig.  In  that  small  and  quietly  superior 
''crowd"  of  his  he  had  too  emphatically  sum>orted 
the  ideal  of  being  rather  than  doing.  He  could  not 
am>eal  to  one  of  its  members  now  to  help  him  to  a 
job.  Besides,  they  were  not  precisely  the  warmest** 
hearted  crew  in  the  world,  and  he  had  long  age 
dropped  the  last  affectation  of  a  correspondence  with 
any  of  them.  He  was  as  aloof  from  any  survival  of 
intimacy  with  his  boyhood  friends  in  the  city,  and, 
in  truth,  had  lost  track  of  most  of  them.  '^The 
Friends  of  the  Ace,"  once  bound  by  oath  to  succour 
one  another  in  peril  or  poverty,  were  long  ago  dis- 
persed; one  or  two  had  died;  one  or  two  had  gone 
to  Uve  elsewhere;  the  others  were  disappeared  into 
the  smoky  bigness  of  the  heavy  city.  Of  the  breth- 
reskf  there  remained  within  his  present  cognizance 
only  his  old  enemy,  the  red-haired  Kinney,  now  mar^ 
ried  to  janie  Sharon,  and  Charlie  Johnson,  who,  out 
of  deference  to  his  mother's  memory,  had  passed 
the  Amberson  Mansion  one  day,  when  George  stood 
upon  the  front  steps,  and,  looking  in  fiercely,  had 
looked  away  with  continued  fierceness — ^his  only 
token  of  recognitiooi. 

.     .    On  this  last  homeward  walk  of  his,  when 
George  reached  the  entrance  to  Amberson  Addition 


— ^that  is,  when  he  came  to  where  the  entrance  hac) 
formerly  been — ^he  gave  a  little  start,  and  halted  for 
a  moment  to  stare.  This  was  the  first  time  he  had 
noticed  that  the  stone  pillars,  marking  the  entrance, 
had  been  removed.  Then  he  realized  that  for  a 
long  time  he  had  been  conscious  of  a  queemess  about 
this  comer  without  being  aware  of  what  made  the 
difference.  National  Avenue  met  Amberson  Boule^ 
vard  here  at  an  obtuse  angle,  and  the  removal  of 
the  pillars  made  the  Boulevard  seem  a  cross-street 
of  no  overpowering  importance-^certainly  it  did  not 
seem  to  be  a  boulevard ! 

At  the  next  comer  Neptune's  Fountain  remained, 
and  one  could  still  determine  with  accuracy  what  ibi 
designer's  intentions  had  been.  It  stood  in  sore  need 
of  just  one  last  kindness;  and  if  the  thing  had  pos- 
sessed any  friends  they  would  have  done  that  dole- 
ful shovelling  after  dark. 

George  did  not  let  his  eyes  linger  upon  the  relic; 
nor  did  he  lopk  steadfastly  at  the  Amberson  Mansion. 
Massive  as  the  old  house  was,  it  managed  to  look 
gaunt  :^  its  windows  stared  with  the  skull  emptiness 
of  all  windows  in  empty  houses  that  are  to  be  lived 
in  no  mOTe.  Of  course  the  rowdy  boys  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood had  been  at  work:  many  of  these  haggard  • 


windows  were  broken;  the  front  door  stood  ajar, 
forced  open;  and  idiot  salacity,  in  white  chalk,  was 
smeared  everywhere  upon  the  pillars  and  stone' 
work  of  the  verandas. 

George  walked  by  the  Mansion  hurriedly,  and 
came  home  to  his  mother's  house  for  the  last  time.'  ''^ 

'Emptiness  was  there,  too,  and  the  closing  of  the 
door  resounded  through  bare  rooms;  for  downstairs 
there  was  no  furniture  in  the  house  except  a  kitchen 
table  in  the  dining  room,  which  Fanny  had  kept 
"for  dinner,"  she  said,  though  as  she  was  to  cook  and 
serve  that  meal  herself  George  had  his  doubts  about 
her  name  for  it.  Upstairs,  she  had  retained  her  own 
furniture,  and  George  had  been  living  in  his  mother's 
room,  having  sent  everything  from  his  own  to  the 
auction.  Isabel's  room  was  still  as  it  had  been,  but 
the  furniture  would  be  moved  with  Fanny's  to  new 
quarters  in  the  morning.  Fanny  had  made  plans 
for  her  nephew  as  well  as  herself;  she  had  found  a 
*' three-room  kitchenette  apartment"  in  an  apart- 
ment house  where  several  old  friends  of  hers  had 
established  themselves — elderly  widows  of  citizens 
once  "prominent"  and  other  retired  gentry.  People 
used  their  own  "kitchenettes"  for  breakfast  and 
Sunch,  but  there  was  a  table-d'hdte  arrangement 


for  dinner  an  the  ground  floor;  and  after  dinner 
bridge  was  played  all  evening,  an  attractkm  powerful 
wifii  Fanny.  She  had  **  made  all  the  arrangements/ 
8he  reported,  and  nervously  appealed  for  approval, 
flflking  if  she  hadn't  shown  herself  ''pretty  practical " 
in  such  matters.  Geoige  acquiesced  absent-mind- 
ecfly,  not  thinking  of  what  she  said  and  not  realizing 
to  what  it  committed  him. 

He  b^an  to  realize  it  now,  as  he  wandered  about 
the  dismantled  house;  he  was  far  from  sure  that  he 
was  willing  to  go  and  live  in  a  "three-room  apart- 
ment" with  Fanny  and  eat  breakfast  and  lunch 
with  her  (prepared  by  herself  in  the  "kitchenette**) 
and  dinner  at  the  table  dTi6te  in  "such  a  pretty 
Colonial  dming  room"  (so  Fanny  described  it)  at  a 
little  round  table  they  would  have  all  to  themselves 
in  the  midst  of  a  dozen  little  round  tables  which 
other  relics  of  disrupted  families  would  have  all  to 
themselves.    For  the  first  time,  now  that  the  change 
was  imminent,  George  began  to  develop  before  his 
mind's  eye  pictures  of  what  he  was  in  for;  and  they 
appalled  him.     He  decided  that  such  a  life  verged 
upon  the  sheerly  unbearable,  and  that  after  all  there 
were  some  things  left  that  he  just  couldn't  stand. 
So  he  made  up  his  mind  to  speak  to  his  aunt  abou^ 


it  at  '^dinner/'  and  tell  her  that  he  preferred  to  ask 
Brcmflon  to  let  him  put  a  sofa-bed,  a  trunk,  and  a  f^* 
ing  rubber  bathtub  behind  a  screen  in  the  dai^  rear 
room  of  the  office.  George  felt  that  this  would  be 
infinitely  more  tolerable;  and  he  could  eat  at  res- 
taurants, ei^iecially  as  about  all  he  ever  wailted 
nowadays  was  coffee. 

But  at  ^^ dinner"  he  decided  to  put  off  telling 
Fanny  of  hts  fiaxt  lintil  later:  she  was  so  n^^vous, 
and  so  distressed  about  the  failure  ot  her  dffbrts 
with  sweetbreads  and  macaroni;  and  she  was  so 
eager  in  her  talk  of  how  comfortable  they  would  be 
"by  this  time  to-morrow  night.'*  She  fluttered  on, 
her  nervousness  increadbg,  saying  how  ''nice''  it 
would  be  for  him,  when  he  came  from  work  in  the 
evenings,  to  be  amcmg  "nice  people — pec^le  who 
know  who  we  are^^*  and  to  have  a  pleasant  game  of 
bridge  with  ^'people  who  are  really  old  friends  of  the 

When  they  stopped  probing  among  the  scorched 
fragments  she  had  set  forth,  George  lingered  down- 
stairs, waiting  for  a  better  opportunity  to  introduce 
his  own  subject,  but  when  he  heard  dismaying  sounds 
from  the  kitchen  he  gave  up.  There  was  a  crash, 
then  a  shower  of  crashes;  falling  tin  clamoured  to  be 


heard  above  the  shattering  of  porcelain;  and  over  all 
rose  Fanny's  wail  of  lamentation  for  the  treasures 
saved  from  the  sale,  but  now  lost  forever  to  the 
"kitchenette."  Fanny  was  nervous  indeed;  so  ner*. 
vous  that  she  could  not  trust  her  hands. 

For  a  moment  George  thought  she  might  have  been 
injured,  but,  brfore  he  reached  the  kitch^i,  he  heard 

,  her  sweeping  at  the  fragments,  and  turned  back.  He 
put  off  speaking  to  Fanny  until  morning. 

Things  more  insistent  than  his  vague  plans  for  a 
sofa-bed  in  Bronson's  office  had  possession  of  his 
mind  as  he  went  upstairs,  moving  his  hand  slowly 
along  the  smooth  walnut  railing  of  the  balustrade. 
Half  way  to  the  landing  he  stopped,  turned,  and 
stood  looking  down  at  the  heavy  doors  masking  the 
black  emptiness  that  had  been  the  library.     Here  he 

^  had  stood  on  what  he  now  knew  was  the  worst  day 
of  his  life;  here  he  had  stood  when  his  mother 
passed  through  that  doorway,  hand-in-hand  with  her 
brother,  to  learn  what  her  son  had  done. 

He  went  on  more  heavily,  more  slowly ;  and,  more 
heavily  and  slowly  still,  entered  Isabel's  room  and 
shut  the  door.     He  did  not  come  forth  again,  and 

.  bade  Fanny  good-night  through  the  closed  door  when 

•she  stopped  outside  it  later. 



•*IVe  put  all  the  lights  out,  George,"  she  said. 
''Everything's  all  right." 

"Very  weU,"  he  eaUed.     "Good-night." 

She  did  not  go.  *'  I'm  sure  we're  going  to  enjoy  the 
new  little  home,  George,"  she  said  timidly.  "I'll 
try  hard  to  make  things  nice  for  you,  and  the  people 
really  are  lovely.  You  mustn't  feel  as  if  things  are 
altogether  gloomy,  George.  I  know  everything's 
going  to  turn  out  all  right.  You're  young  and  strong 
and  you  have  a  good  mind  and  I'm  sure — "  she  hesi- 
tated— "I'm  sure  your  mother's  watching  over  you, 
Georgie.     Good-night,  dear." 

"Good-night,  Aunt  Fanny." 

His  voice  had  a  strangled  sound  in  spite  of  him; 
but  she  seemed  not  to  notice  it,  and  he  heard  her  go 
to  her  own  room  and  lock  herself  in  with  bolt  and  key 
against  burglars.  She  had  said  the  one  thing  she 
should  not  have  said  just  then:  "I'm  sure  your 
mother's  watching  over  you,  Georgie."  She  had 
meant  to  be  kind,  but  it  destroyed  his  last  chance  for 
sleep  that  night.  He  would  have  slept  little  if  she 
had  not  said  it,  but  since  she  had  said  it,  he  did  not 
sleep  at  all.  For  he  knew  that  it  was  true — ^if  it 
could  be  true — and  that  his  mother,  if  she  still  Kved 
in  spirit,  would  be  weeping  on  the  other  side  of  the 


wall  of  silence,  weeping  and  seddng  for  some  gate 

to  let  her  through  so  that  she  could  come  and        v 

"watch  over  him." 

He  felt  that  if  there  were  such  gates  they  were 
surely  barred:  they  were  like  those  awful  library 
doors  downstairs,  which  had  shut  her  in  to  begm 
the  suffering  to  which  he  had  consigned  her. 

The  room  was  still  Isabel's;  Nothing  had  been 
changed:  even  the  photographs  of  George,  of  the 
Major,  and  of  "brother  George"  still  stood  on  her 
dressing-table,  and  in  a  drawer  of  her  desk  was  an 
old  picture  of  Eugene  and  Lucy,  taken  together, 
which  George  had  found,  but  had  slowly  closed  away 
again  from  sight,  not  touching  it.  To-morrow 
everything  would  be  gone;  and  he  had  heard  there 
was  not  long  to  wait  before  the  house  itself  would  be 
demolished.  The  very  space  which  to-night  was 
still  Isabel's  room  would  be  cut  into  new  shapes 
by  new  walls  and  floors  and  ceiUngs;  yet  the  room 
would  always  live,  for  it  could  not  die  out  of  George's 
memory.  It  would  live  as  long  as  he  did,  and  it 
would  always  be  mtumurous  with  a  tragic,  wistful 

And  if  space  itself  can  be  haunted,  as  memory 
is  haunted,  then  some  time,  when  the  space  that  was 


Isabel's  room  came  to  be  made  into  the  small  bed- 
rooms and  "kitchenettes"  already  designed  as  its 
destiny,  that  space  might  well  be  haunted  and  the 
new  occupants  come  to  feel  that  some  seemingly 
causeless  depression  hung  about  it — a  wraith  of  the 
passion  that  filled  it  throughout  the  last  night  that 
George  Minafer  spent  there. 

f  Whatever  remnants  of  the  oLd  high-handed  arro- 
gance were  still  within  him,  he  did  penance  for  hia 
deepest  sin  that  night — and  it  may  be  that  to  this 
day  some  impressionable,  overworked  woman  in  a 
"kitchenette,"  after  turning  out  the  light,  will  seem 
to  see  a  young  man  kneeling  in  the  darkness,  shaking 
convulsively,  and,  with  arms  outstretched  through 
the  wall,  clutching  at  the  covers  of  a  shadowy  bed. 
It  may  seem  to  her  that  she  hears  the  faint  cry,  over 
and  over: 

"Mother,  foi^ve  me!    God,  forgive  me!** 


AT  LEAST,  it  may  be  claimed   for   Gleorge 

/%  that  his  last  night  in  the  house  where  he  had 
-^  -^  been  bom  was  not  occupied  with  his  own  dis- 
heartening future,  but  with  sorrow  for  what  sacri- 
fices his  pride  and  youth  had  demanded  of  others. 
And  early  in  the  morning  he  came  downstiurs  and 
tried  to  help  Fanny  make  coflFee  on  the  kitchen 

"There  was  something  I  wanted  to  say  to  you  last 
night.  Aunt  Fanny,"  he  said,  as  she  finally  discovered 
that  an  amber  fluid,  more  like  tea  than  coffee,  was 
as  near  ready  to  be  taken  into  the  human  system 
as  it  would  ever  be.  "I  think  Fd  better  do  it 

She  set  the  coffee-pot  back  upon  the  stove  with  a 
little  crash,  and,  looking  at  him  in  a  desperate 
anxiety,  began  to  twist  her  dainty  apron  between  her 
fingers  without  any  consciousness  of  what  she  was 

"Why — why "  she  stammered;  but  she  knew 


what  he  was  going  to  say,  and  that  was  why  she  had 
been  more  add  more  nervous.  "Hadn't — ^perhaps 
-—perhaps  we*d  better  get  the — the  things  moved  to 
the  little  new  home  first,  George.    Let's: — — " 

He  intenxipted  quietly,  though  at  her  phrase,  "  the 
little  new  home,"  his  pungent  impulse  was  to  utter 
one  loud  shout  and  run.  "It  was  about  this  new 
place  that  I  wanted  to  speak.  I Ve  been  thinking  it 
over,  and  IVe  decided.  I  want  you  to  take  all  the 
things  from  mother's  room  and  use  them  and  keep 
them  for  me,  and  I'm  sure  the  little  apartment  will 
be  just  what  you  like;  and  with  the  extra  bedroom 
probably  you  could  find  some  woman  friend  to  come 
and  live  there,  and  share  the  expense  with  you. 
But  I've  decided  on  another  arrangement  for  myself, 
and  so  I'm  not  going  with  you.  I  don't  suppose 
you'll  mind  much,  and  I  don't  see  why  you  should 
mind — particularly,  that  is.  I'm  not  very  Kvely 
qoinpany  these  days,  or  any  days,  for  that  matter. 
I  can't  imagine  you,  or  any  one  else,  being  much 
attached  to  me,  so " 

He  stopped  in  amazement:  no  chair  had  been  left 
in  the  kitchen,  but  Fanny  gave  a  despairing  glance 
around  her,  in  search  of  one,  then  sank  abruptly^ 
and  sat  flat  upon  the  floor. 


"You're  goin^  to  leave  me  in  the  1iitc|iI'*  she 
gasped.  I 

"  What  on  eavth "  George  sprang  to  herl   "  Get 

up.  Aunt  Fanny!" 

" I  can't.  I'm  too  weak.  Let  me  alone,  Gteorge !  '* 
And  as  he  released  the  wrist  he  had  seized  to  hielp  her, 
she  repeated  the  dismal  prophecy  wfai<ii  f»>r  days 
she  had  been  matching  against  her  hopes:  ^'^  You 're 
going  to  leave  me — ^m  the  lurch  I*^'  i 

"Why  no,  Aunt  Fanny!"  he  protested.  ^At  first 
I'd  have  been  something  of  a  burden  on  you.  I'm  to 
get  eight  dollars  a  week;  about  thirty-two  a  month* 
The  rent's  thirty-six  doUars  a  month,  and  the  tabte- 
d'h6te  dinner  runs  up  to  over  twenty-tWo  dollars 
apiece,  so  with  my  half  d  the  rent-— eighteen  dollars 
— ^I'd  have  less  than  nothing  left  out  of  my  salary  to 
pay  my  share  of  the  groceries  for  all  the  breakfasts 
ftnd  luncheons.  You  see  you'd  not  only  be  doing  all 
the  housework  and  cooking,  but  you'd  be  paying 
tnore  of  the  expenses  than  I  would." 

She  stared  at  him  with  such  a  forlorn  blankness 

as  he  had  never  seen.    "I'd  be  paying "  she  said 

feebly.     "I'd  be  paying " 

"Certainly  you  would.  You'd  be  using  more  of 
your  money  than " 


•*My  money!"  Fanny's  chin  drooped  upon  her 
tibin. chest,  and  she  laughed  mis^ably.  ^'IVe  got 
twenty-eight  doUars.    That's  all." 

"You  mean  until  the  interest  is  due  again?" 

"I  mean  that's  all,"  Fanny  said.  "I  mean  that's 
all  there- is.  There  won't  be  any  more  interest  be- 
cause there  isn't  any  principal." 

"Why,  you  told " 

She  shook  her  head.  "No.  I  haven't  told  you 

"Then  it  was  Uncle  George.  He  told  me  you  had 
mough  to  fall  bade  on.  That's  just  what  he  said: 
*to  fall  back  on.'  He  said  you'd  lost  more  than  you 
should,  in  the  headlight  company,  but  he'd  insisted 
that  you  should  hold  out  enough  to  live  on,  and  you'd 
very  wisely  followed  his  advice." 

"I  know,"  she  said  weakly.  "I  told  him  so.  He 
didn't  know,  or  else  he'd  forgotten,  how  much  Wil- 
bur's insurance  amounted  to,  and  I — oh,  it  seemed 
jjuch  a  sure  way  to  make  a  real  fortune  out  of  a  little 
— ^and  I  thought  I  could  do  something  for  youy 
(Jeorge,  if  you  ever  came  to  need  it — and  it  all 
looked  so  bright  I  just  thought  I'd  put  it  all  in.  I  did 
— every  cent  except  my  last  interest  payment — ^and 
it's  gone." 


^'Good  Lord!''  Greorge  began  to  pace  up  aiMl 
down  the  worn  planks  of  the  bare  floor.  ^*  Why  <»i 
earth  did  you  wait  till  now  to  tell  such  a  thing  at 

"I  covldrCt  tell  till  I  had  to,"  she  said  piteously, 


"I  couldn't  till  Geoi^e  Amberson  went  away.  He 
couldn't  do  anything  to  help,  anyhow,  and  I  just 
didn't  want  him  to  talk  to  me  about  it — ^he's  been 
at  me  so  much  about  not  putting  more  in  than  I 
could  afford  to  lose,  and  said  he  considered  he  had 
my — ^my  word  I  waarCt  putting  more  than  that  in  it. 
So  I  thought:  What  was  the  use?  What  was  the 
use  of  going  over  it  all  with  him  and  having  him 
reproach  me,  and  probably  reproach  himself?  It 
wouldn't  do  any  good — ^not  any  good  on  earth."  She 
got  out  her  lace  handkerchief  and  began  to  cry. 
"Nothing  does  any  good,  I  guess,  in  this  old  wdrldi 
Oh,  how  tired  of  this  old  world  I  am!  I  didn't  know 
what  to  do.  I  just  tried  to  go  ahead  and  be  as  prac- 
tical as  I  could,  and  arrange  some  way  for  us  to  live. 
Oh,  I  knew  you  didn't  want  me,  George!  You  al- 
ways teased  me  and  berated  me  whenever  you  had 
a  chance  from  the  time  you  were  a  little  boy — ^yoii 
did  so  I  Later,  you've  tried  to  be  kinder  to  me,  but 
you  don't  want  me  around — oh,  I  can  see  that  muchi 


You  don^t  suppose  I  want  to  thrust  myself  on  you, 
do  you?  It  isn't  very  pleasant  to  be  thrusting  your- 
self on  a  person  you  know  doesn't  want  you — ^but  I 
knew  you  oughtn't  to  be  left  all  alone  in  the  world; 
it  isn't  good.  I  knew  your  mother'd  want  me  tG' 
wat<^  over  you  and  try  to  have  something  like  a 
hcHne  for  you — ^I  know  she'd  want  me  to  do  what  I 
tried  to  do!"  Fanny's  tears  were  bitter  now^i  and 
faer  voice,  hoarse  and  wet,  was  tragically  sincere.  ''I 
tried — ^I  tried  to  be  practical — ^to  look  alter  your 
interests — ^to  make  things  as  nice  for  you  as  I  coidd 
— ^I  walked  my  heels  down  looking  for  a  place  for  us 
to  live — ^I  walked  and  walked  over  this  town — ^I 
didn't  ride  one  block  on  a  street-car — ^I  wouldn't 

use  five  cents  no  matter  how  tired  I Oh!"    She 

sobbed  uncontrollably.  "Oh!  and  now — ^you  don't 
want — ^you  want — ^you  want  to  leave  me  in  the  lurch! 

You " 

George  stopped  walking.  **Ih  God's  name.  Aunt 
Fanny,"  he  said,  "  quit  spreading  out  your  handker- 
chief and  drying  it  and  then  getting  it  all  wet  again! 
I  mean  stop  crying!  Do!  And  for  heaven's  sake, 
;get  up.  Don't  sit  there  with  your  back  against  the 
boiler  and " 


It's  not  hot,"  Fanny  sniffled.     "It's  cold;  the 




plumbers  disconnected  it.  I  wouldn't  mind  if  they 
hadn't.  I  wouldn't  mind  if  it  burned  me,  George/' 
Oh,  my  Lard  /"    He  went  to  her,  and  lifted  hwr 

For  God's  sake,  get  up !    Come,  let's  take  the  coffee 
into  the  other  room,  and  see  what's  to  be  done." 

He  got  her  to  her  feet;  she  leaned  upon  him,  al- 
ready somewhat  comforted,  and,  with  his  arm  about 
her,  he  conducted  her  to  the  dining  room  and  seated 
her  in  one  of  the  two  kitchen  chairs  which  had  been 
placed  at  the  rough  table.  "There!"  he  said,  "get 
over  it!"  Then  he  brought  the  coffee-pot,  some 
lumps  of  sugar  in  a  tin  pan,  and,  finding  that  all  the 
coffee-cups  were  broken,  set  water  glasses  upon  the 
table,  and  poured  some  of  the  pale  coffee  into  them. 
By  this  time  Fanny's  spirits  had  revived  appre- 
ciably: she  looked  up  with  a  plaintive  eagerness.  "I 
had  bought  all  my  fall  clothes,  Geotge"  she  said; 
^*  and  I  paid  every  bill  I  owed.  1  don't  owe  a  cent  for 
clothes,  George." 

"That's  good,"  he  said  wanly,  and  he  had  a  mo- 
ment of  physical  dizziness  that  decided  him  to  sit 
down  quickly.  For  an  instant  it  seemed  to  him 
that  he  was  not  Fanny's  nephew,  but  married  to 
her.  He  passed  his  pale  hand  over  his  paler  fore- 
head.    "Well,  let's  see  where  we  stand,"  he  said 


feebly.  "Let's  see  if  we  can  afford  this  place  you Ve 

Fanny  continued  to  brighten.  "I*m  sure  it's  the 
most  practical  plan  we  could  possibly  have  worked 
out,  George — and  it  is  sl  comfort  to  be  among  nice 
people.  I  think  we'll  both  enjoy  it,  because  the 
truth  is  we've  been  keeping  too  much  to  ourselves 
for  a  long  while.     It  isn't  good  for  people." 

"I  was  thinking  about  the  money.  Aunt  Fanny. 
You  see " 


I'm  sure  we  can  manage  it,"   she  interrupted 
quickly.     "There   really   isn't   a  cheaper  place  in 

town  that  we  could  actually  live  in  and  be " 

Here  she  interrupted  herself.  "Oh!  There's  one 
ffteat  economy  I  forgot  to  tell  you,  and  it's  especially 
an  economy  for  you,  because  you're  always  too  gen- 
erous about  such  things:  they  don't  allow  any  tip- 
ping.    They  have  signs  that  prohibit  it." 

"That's  good,"  he  said  grimly.  "But  the  rent 
is  thirty-six  dollars  a  month;  the  dinner  is  twenty- 
two  and  a  half  for  each  of  us,  and  we've  got  to  have 
some  provision  for  other  food.     We  won't  need  any 

:slothes  for  a  year,  perhaps " 

"Oh,  longer!"  she  exclaimed.     "So  you  see " 

**I  see  that  forty -five  and  thirty-six  make  eighty- 


one,"  he  said.     "At  the  lowest,  we  need  a  hundred 
dollars  a  month — and  I'm  going  to  make  thirty-two/' 

"I  thought  of  that,  George,"  she  said  confidently, 
"  and  I'm  sure  it  will  be  all  right.  You'll  be  eaming^ 
a  great  deal  more  than  that  very  soon." 

"I  don't  see  any  prospect  of  it — ^not  till  I*m  ad- 
mitted to  the  bar,  and  that  will  be  two  years  at 
the  earliest." 

Fanny's  confidence  was  not  shaken.  "I  know 
yow'K  be  getting  on  faster  than " 

"Taster?"'    George    echoed    gravely.      "We've" 
got  to  have  more  than  that  to  start  with." 

"Well,  there's  the  six  hundred  dollars  from  thir 
sale.     Six  himdred  and  twelve  dollars  it  was." 

"It  isn't  six  hundred  and  twelve  now,"  said 
George.     "It's  about  one  hundred  and  sixty." 

Fanny  showed  a  momentary  dismay.  "Why,, 
how " 

"I  lent  Uncle  George  two  hundred;  I  gave  fifty 
apiece  to  old  Sam  and  those  two  other  old  darkies 
that  worked  for  grandfather  so  long,  and  ten  to  each 
of  the  servants  here " 

"And  you  gave  me  thirty-six,"  she  said  thought- 
fully, "for  the  first  month's  rent,  in  advance." 

•*Did    I?    I'd    forgotten.     Well,    with    about   m 


^hundred  and  sixty  in  bank  and  our  expenses  a 
hundred  a  month,  it  doesn't  seem  as  if  thLs  new 
place " 

"Still,"  she  interrupted,  "we  have  paid  the  first 
month's  rent  in  advance,  and  it  does  seem  to  be  the 
most  practical '.' 

Geoi^e  rose.  "See  here.  Aunt  Fanny,"  he  said 
decisively.  "You  stay  here  and  look  after  the 
moving.  Old  Frank  doesn't  expect  me  until  after- 
noon, this  first  day,  but  I'll  go  and  see  him  now." 

.  .  .  It  was  early,  and  old  Frank,  just  estab^ 
ished  at  his  big,  flat-topped  desk,  was  surprised 
when  his  prospective  assistant  and  pupil  walked  in. 
He  was  pleased,  as  weU  as  surprised,  however,  and 
rose,  offering ^a  cordial  old  hand.  "The  real  flare!" 
he  said.  "The  real  flare  for  the  law.  That's  right! 
Couldn't  wait  till  afternoon  to  begin !  I'm  delighted 
that  you " 

"I  wanted  to  say "  George  began,  but  his 

patron  cut  him  off. 

"Wait  just  a  minute,  my  boy.  I've  prepared  a 
Uttle  speech  of  welcome,  and  ev«i  though  you're 
five  hours  ahead  of  time,  I  mean  to  deliver  it.  First 
of  all,  your  grandfather  was  my  old  war-comrade  and 
my  best  client;  for  years  I  prospered  through  my  con- 


nection  with  his  business,  and  his  grandson  is  wel* 
come  in  my  office  and  to  my  best  etforts  in  his  behalf. 
But  I  want  to  confess,  Georgie,  that  during  your 
earlier  youth  I  may  have  had  some  slight  feeling  of 
— well,  prejudice,  not  altogether  in  your  favour; 
but  whatever  slight  feeling  it  was,  it  began  to  vanish 
on  that  afternoon,  a  good  while  ago,  when  you  stood 
up  to  your  Aunt  Amelia  Amberson  as  you  did  in  the 
Major's  library,  and  talked  to  her  as  a  man  and  a 
gentleman  should.  I  saw  then  what  good  stuff  was 
in  you — ^and  I  always  wanted  to  mention  it.  If  my 
prejudice  hadn't  altogether  vanished  after  that,  the 
last  vestiges  disappeared  during  these  trying  times 
that  have  eome  upon  you  this  past  year,  when  I 
have  been  a  witness  to  the  depth  of  feeling  you've 
shown  and  your  quiet  consideration  for  your  grand* 
father  and  for  everyone  else  around  you.  I  just 
want  to  add  that  I  think  you'll  find  an  honest  pleas* 
ure  now  in  industry  and  frugality  that  wouldn't 
have  come  to  you  in  a  more  frivolous  career.  The 
law  is  a  jealous  mistress  and  a  stem  mistress,  but 

a " 

George  had  stood  before  him  in  great  and  increas- 
ing embarrassment;  and  he  was  imable  to  allow  the 
address  to  proceed  to  its  conclusion. 


"I  can't  do  it!"  he  biiir9t  4wt.  "I  can^t  take  hfst 
for  my  mistress." 


"IVe  come  to  tell  you,  IVe  got  to  find  something 
that's  quicker.    I  can't " 

Old  Frank  got  a  little  red.  "Let's  sit  down,"  he 
said.     "  What's  the  trouble?  " 

Geoi^e  told  him. 

The  old  gentleman  listened  sympathetically,  only 
murmuring:  "Well,  well!"  from  time  to  time,  and 
nodding  acquiescence. 

"You  see  she's  set  her  mind  on  this  apartment," 
George  explained.  "She's  got  some  old  cronies 
there,  and  I  guess  she's  been  looking  forward  to  the 
games  of  bridge  and  the  kind  of  harmless  gossip  that 
goes  on  in  such  places.  Really,  it's  a  life  she'd  like 
better  than  anything  else — ^better  than  that  she's 
lived  at  home,  I  really  believe.  It  struck  me  she's 
just  about  got  to  have  it,  and  after  all  she  oould 
hardly  have  anything  less." 

"  This  comes  pretty  heavily  upon  me,  you  know," 
said  old  Frank.  "I  got  her  into  that  headlight 
company,  and  she  fooled  me  about  her  resoiu*ces 
as  much  as  she  did  your  Uncle  George.  I  was 
never  your  father's  adviser,  if  you  remember,  and 


whoi  the  insurance  was  turned  over  to  her  some 
other  lawyer  arranged  it — ^probably  your  father's. 
But  it  comes  pretty  heavily  on  me,  and  I  feel  a  cer- 
tain responsibility." 

"Not  at  all.  Fm  taking  the  responsibility.'* 
And  George  smiled  with  one  comer  of  his  mouth. 
"She's  not  your  aimt,  you  know,  sir." 

"Well,  I'm  unable  to  see,  even  if  she's  yours,  that 
a  yoimg  man  is  morally  called  upon  to  give  up  a 
career  at  the  law  to  provide  his  aunt  with  a  favour- 
able opportunity  to  play  bridge  whist!'' 

"No,"  George  agreed.  "But  I  haven't  begun  my 
^career  at  the  law'  so  it  can't  be  said  I'm  making 
any  considerable  sacrifice.  I'll  tell  you  how  it  is, 
sir."  He  flushed,  and,  looking  out  of  the  streaked 
and  smoky  window  beside  which  he  was  sitting,  spoke 
with  difficulty.  "I  feel  as  if— as  if  perhaps  I  had 
one  or  two  pretty  important  things  in  my  life  to 
make  up  for.  Well,  I  can't.  I  can't  make  them 
up  to — ^to  whom  I  would.  It's  struck  me  that,  as  I 
couldn't,  I  might  be  a  little  decent  to  somebody  else, 
perhaps — ^if  I  could  manage  it!  I  never  have  been 
particularly  decent  to  poor  old  Aimt  Fanny." 

"Oh,  I  don't  know:  I  shouldn't  say  that.  A 
Htfle  youthful  teasing — ^I  doubt  if  she's  minded  so 


much.  She  felt  your  father's  death  terrifically,  of 
course,  but  it  seems  to  me  she's  had  a  fairly  com- 
fortable life — up  to  now — if  Ae  was  disposed  to  take 
it  that  way." 

"But  *up  to  now'  is  the  important  thing,"  George 
said.  "Now  is  now — and  you  see  I  can't  wait  two 
years  to  be  admitted  to  the  bar  and  begin  to  prac- 
tice. I've  got  to  start  in  at  something  else  that 
pays  from  the  start,  and  that's  what  I've  come  to 
you  about.     I  have  an  idea,  you  see." 

"Well,  I'm  glad  of  that!"  said  old  Frank,  smiling. 
"I  can't  think  of  anything  just  at  this  minute  that 
pays  from  the  start." 

"I  only  know  of  one  thmg,  myself." 

"What  is  it?" 

George  flushed  again,  but  managed  to  laugh  at 
his  own  embarrassment.  "I  suppose  I'm  about  as 
ignorant  of  business  as  anybody  in  the  world,"  he 
said.  "But  I've  heard  they  pay  very  high  wages  ta 
people  in  dangerous  trades;  I've  always  heard 
they  did,  and  I'm  sure  it  must  be  true.  I  mean 
people  that  handle  touchy  chemicals  or  high  ex- 
plosives— men  in  dynamite  factories,  or  who  take 
things  of  that  sort  about  the  country  in  wagons,  and 
shoot  oil  wells.     I  thought  I'd  see  if  you  couldn't 


tell  me  something  more  about  it,  or  else  introduce 
me  to  some<Mie  who  could,  and  then  I  thought  I'd 
see  if  I  couldn't  get  something  of  the  kind  to  do  as 
soon  as  possible.  My  nerves  are  good;  I'm  museidar, 
and  I've  got  a  steady  hand;  it  seemed  to  me  that  this 
was  about  the  only  line  of  work  in  the  world  that  I'm 
fitted  for.  I  wanted  to  get  started  to-day  if  I 

Okl  Frank  gave  him  a  long  stare.  At  first  this 
scrutiny  was  sharply  incredulous;  then  it  was  grave; 
finally  it  developed  into  a  threat  of  overwhelming 
laughter;  a  forked  vein  in  his  forehead  became  m(N*e 
visible  and  his  eyes'seemed  about  to  protrude. 

But  he  controlled  his  impulse;  and,  rising,  took 
up  his  hat  and  overcoat.  "All  right,"  he  said.  "If 
you'll  promise  not  to  get  blown  up,  I'll  go  with  you 
to  see  if  we  can  find  the  job."  Then,  meaning  what 
he  said,  but  amazed  that  he  did  mean  it,  he  added: 
"You  certainly  are  the  most  practical  young  man  I 
ever  met!" 


THEY  found  tlie  job.  It  needed  an  n/pfpn^^ 
ticesliip  of  only  six  weeks,  during  whick 
period  George  was  to  reeeive  fifteen  dollars 
A  week;  after  tlmt  he  would  get  twenty-e^ht.  This 
settled  the  apartment  question,  and  Fanny  was  pres- 
ently established  in  a  greater  cixitentment  than  she 
had  known  for  a  long  time.  Early  every  m<»ming 
she  made  something  she  caHed  (and  believed  to  be) 
coffee  for  Geocge,  and  he  was  gallant  enough  not  to 
undeeeive  her.  She  lunehed  alone  in  her  ^kitchen- 
ette/' for  George's  place  of  empbyment  was  ten 
miles  out  of  town  on  an  interurban  troUey-line,  and 
he  seldom  returned  before  seven.  Fanny  found 
partners  for  bridge  by  two  o'clock  almost  every 
afternoon,  and  she  played  until  about  six.  Then  slie 
got  George's  "dinner  clothes"  out  for  hkn — ^he 
maintained  this  habit — and  she  changed  her  own 
dress.  When  he  arrived  he  usually  denied  that  he 
was  tired,  though  he  sometimes  looked  tired,  particu- 
larly during  the  first  few  months;  and  he  ezplaiDed 



to  her  frequently — ^looking  bored  enough  with  her 
insistence — ^that  his  work  was  **  fairly  light,  and 
fairly  congenial,  too."  Fanny  had  the  foggiest  idea 
of  what  it  was,  though  she  noticed  that  it  roughened 
his  hands  and  stained  them.  *^  Something  in  those 
new  chemical  works,"  she  explained  to  casual  in- 
quirers. It  was  not  more  definite  in  her  own  mind. 
Respect  for  George  undoubtedly  increased  within 
her,  however,  and  she  told  him  sheM  always  had  a 
feeling  he  might  ^'tum  out  to  be  a  mechanical 
genius,  or  something."  Geoi^e  assented  with  a  nod, 
as  the  easiest  course  open  to  him.  He  did  not  take 
a  hand  at  bridge  after  dinner:  his  provisions  for 
Fanny's  happiness  refused  to  extend  that  far,  and  at 
the  table  d'hdte  he  was  a  rather  discouraging 
boarder.  He  was  considered  *^  affected  "  and  absurdly 
**up-stage"  by  the  one  or  two  young  men,  and  the 
three  or  four  young  women,  who  enlivened  the 
elderly  retreat;  and  was  possibly  less  popular  there 
than  he  had  been  elsewhere  during  his  life,  though 
he  was  now  nothing  worse  than  a  coldly  polite  yoxmg 
man  who  kept  to  himself.  After  dinner  he  would 
escort  his  aunt  from  the  table  in  some  state  (not 
wholly  unaccompanied  by  a  leerish  wink  or  two 
from  the  wags  of  the  place)  and  he  would  leave  her 


at  the  door  of  the  communal  parlours  and  card  rooms, 
with  a  formality  in  his  bow  of  farewell  which  afforded 
an  amusing  contrast  to  Fanny's  always  voluble  pro- 
tests. (She  never  failed  to  urge  loudly  that  he 
really  must  come  and  play,  just  this  once,  and  not  go 
hidmg  from  everybody  in  his  room  every  evening  like 
this !)  At  least  some  of  the  other  inhabitants  found 
the  contrast  amusing,  for  sometimes,  as  he  departed 
stiffly  toward  the  elevator,  leaving  her  still  entreat- 
ing in  the  doorway  (though  with  one  eye  already  on 
her  table,  to  see  that  it  was  not  seized)  a  titter  would 
follow  him  which  he  was  no  doubt  meant  to  hear. 
He  did  not  care  whether  they  laughed  or  not. 

And  once,  as  he  passed  the  one  or  two  young  men 
/>f  the  place  entertaining  the  three  or  four  young 
women,  who  were  elbowing  and  jerking  on  a  settee 
in  the  lobby,  he  heard  a  voice  inquiring  quickly,  as 
he  passed: 

"What  makes  people  tired?** 



"  Well,  what's  the  answer?  " 

Then,  with  an  intentional  outbreak  of  mirth,  the 
answer  was  given  by  two  loudly  whispering  voices 


"A  stuck-up  boarder!** 

George  didn't  care. 

On  Sunday  mornings  Fanny  W€«it  to  church  and 
George  took  long  walks.  He  explored  the  new  city, 
and  found  it  hideous,  especially  in  the  early  spris^f 
before  the  leaves  of  the  shade  trees  were  out.  ^len 
the  town  was  fagged  with  the  long  winter  and 
blacked  with  the  heavier  smoke  that  had  been  held 
close  to  the  earth  by  the  smoke-fog  it  bred.  Every- 
thing was  damply  streaked  with  the  soot:  the  walls 
of  the  houses,  inside  and  out,  the  gray  curtains  at 
the  windows,  the  windows  themselves,  the  dirty 
cement  and  imswept  asphalt  underfoot,  the  very 
sky  overhead.  Throughout  this  murky  season  he 
continued  his  explorations,  never  seeing  a  face  he 
knew — ^for,  on  Sunday,  those  whom  he  remembered, 
or  who  might  remember  him,  wctc  not  apt  to  be 
found  within  the  limits  of  the  town,  but  were  con- 
genially occupied  with  the  new  outdoor  life  which  had 
come  to  be  the  mode  since  his  boyhood.  He  and 
Fanny  were  pretty  thoroughly  buried  away  within 
the  bigness  of  the  city. 

One  of  his  Sunday  walks,  that  spring,  he  made 
into  a  sour  pilgrimage.  It  was  a  misty  morning  of 
belated  snow  slush,  and  suited  him  to  a  perfection  of 


miserableness,  as  he  stood  before  the  great  drippii^ 
department  store  which  now  occupied  the  big  plot 
of  ground  where  once  had  stood  both  the  Amberson 
Hotel  and  the  Ainbesrson  Opera  House.  From  there 
he  drifted  to  the  old  ^Amberson  Block/'  but  this 
was  fallen  into  a  back-water;  business  had  stagnated 
here.  The  old  structure  had  not  been  replaced,  but 
a  cavernous  entryway  for  trucks  had  been  torn  in 
its  front,  and  upon  the  cornice,  where  the  old  separate 
metal  letters  had  spelt  "" Amberson  Block/'  there 
was  a  long  billboard  siga:     ""Doogan  Storage." 

To  i^pare  himself  nothing,  he  went  out  National 
i^venue  £did  saw  the  piles  of  slush-covered  wreckage 
where  the  Mansion  and  his  mother's  house  had  been, 
and  where  the  Major's  ill-^ated  five  "new"  houses 
had  stood;  for  these  were  down,  too,  to  make  room 
for  the  great  tenement  already  shaped  in  unending 
lines  of  foundation.  But  the  Fountain  of  Neptune 
was  gone  at  last — and  George  was  glad  that  it  was ! 

He  tiuned  away  from  the  devastated  site,  thinking 
bitterly  that  the  only  Amberson  mark  still  left  upon 
the  town  was  the  name  of  the  boulevard — ^Amberson 
Boulevard.  But  he  had  reckoned  without  the  city 
council  of  the  new  order,  and  by  an  unpleasant 
coincidence^  while  the  thought  was  still  in  hL<f  mind, 



his  ey«  fell  upon  a  metal  oblong  sign  upon  the  lamp- 
post at  the  comer.  There  were  two  of  these  little 
signs  upon  the  lamp-post,  at  an  obtuse  angle  to  each 
other,  one.  to  give  passers-by  the  name  of  National 
Avenue,  the  other  to  acquaint  them  with  Ambersm; 
Boulevard.  But  the  one  upon  which  should  have 
been  stencilled  "Amberson  Boulevard"  exhibited 
the  words  "Tenth  Street." 

George  stared  at  it  hard.  Then  he  walked  quickly 
along  the  boulevard  to  the  next  comer  and  looked  at 
the  little  sign  there.     "Tenth  Street." 

It  had  begun  to  rain,  but  George  stood  unheeding, 
staring  at  the  little  sign.  "Damn  them!"  he  said 
finally,  and,  turning  up  his  coat-collar,  plodded  back 
through  the  soggy  streets  toward  "home." 

The  utilitarian  impudence  of  the  city  authorities 
put  a  thought  into  his  mind.  A  week  earlier  he  had 
happened  to  stroll  into  the  large  parlour  of  the  apart* 
ment  house,  finding  it  empty,  and  on  the  centre- 
table  he  noticed  a  large,  red-boimd,  gilt-edged  book, 
newly  printed,  bearing  the  title :  "A  Civic  History, " 
and  beneath  the  title,  the  rubric,  "Biographies  of 
the  500  Most  Prominent  Citizens  and  Fanulies  in 
the  History  of  the  City."  He  had  glanced  at  it 
absently,  merely  noticing  tlie  title  and  sub-title,  and 


wandered  out  of  the  room,  thinking  of  other  things 
and  feeling  no  curiosity  about  the  book.  But  he 
had  thou^t  of  it  several  times  since  with  a  faint, 
vague  uneasiness;  and  now  when  he  entered  the  lobby 
he  walked  directly  into  the  parlour  where  he  had  seen 
the  book.  The  room  was  empty,  as  it  always  was 
on  Sunday  mornings,  and  the  flamboyant  volume 
was  still  upon  the  table — evidently  a  fixture  as  a  sort 
of  local  Almanach  de  Gotha,  or  Burke,  for  the  en- 
lightenment of  tenants  and  boarders. 

He  opened  it,  finding  a  few  painful  steel  engrav- 
ings of  placid,  chin-bearded  faces,  some  of  which  he  re- 
membered dimly;  but  much  more  numerous,  and 
also  more  unfamiliar  to  him,  were  the  pictures  of 
neat,  aggressive  men,  with  clipped  short  hair  and 
clipped  short  moustaches — almost  all  of  them 
strangers  to  him.  He  delayed  not  long  with  these, 
but  turned  to  the  index  where  the  names  of  the 
five  hundred  Most  Prominent  Citizens  and  Families 
in  the  History  of  the  City  were  arranged  in  alpha- 
betical order,  and  ran  his  finger  down  the  column  of 

Abbett  Adams 

Abbott  Adams 

Abrams  Adler 
















George's  eyes  remained  for  some  time  fixed  on  the 
thin  space  between  the  names  "Allen"  and  "Am- 
brose/' Then  he  closed  the  book  quietly,  and  went 
up  to  his  own  room,  agreeing  with  the  elevator  boy, 
on  the  way,  that  it  was  getting  to  be  a  mighty  nasty 
wet  and  windy  day  outside. 

The  elevator  boy  noticed  nothing  unusual  about 
him  and  neither  did  Fanny,  when  she  came  in  from 
church  with  her  hat  ruined,  an  hour  later.  And  yet 
something  had  happened — a  thing  ^which,  years  ago, 
had  been  the  eagerest  hope  of  many,  many  good 
citizens  of  the  town.  They  had  thought  of  it,  longed 
for  it,  hoping  acutely  that  they  might  live  to  see 
the  day  when  it  would  come  to  pass.  And  now  it 
had  happened  at  last:  Georgie  Minafer  hUd  got 
his  come-upance. 

He  had  got  it  three  times  filled  and  running  over. 
The  city  had  rolled  over  his  heart,  burying  it  under. 


as  it  rolled  over  the  Major's  and  buried  it  under. 
The  city  had  rolled  over  the  Ambersons  and  buried 
them  under  to  the  last  vestige;  and  it  mattered  little 
that  George  guessed  easily  enough  that  most  of  the 
five  hundred  Most  Prominent  had  paid  something 
substantial  "to  defray  the  cost  of  steel  engraving, 
etc." — the  Five  Hundred  had  heaved  the  final 
shovelful  of  soot  upon  that  heap  of  obscurity  wherein 
the  Ambersons  were  lost  forever  from  sight  and 
history.     "Quicksilver  in  a  nest  of  cracks!" 

Georgie  Minafer  had  got  his  come-upance,  but  the 
people  who  had  so  longed  for  it  were  not  there  to  see 
it,  and  they  never  knew  it.  Those  who  were  still 
living  had  forgotten  all  about  it  and  all  about  him. 



TCBRE  was  one  border  section  of  the  city 
which  George  never  explored  in  his  Sunday 
morning  excursions*  This  was  far  out  to  the 
north  where  lay  the  new  Elysian  Fields  of  the  million- 
aires, though  he  once  went  as  far  in  that  direction 
as  the  white  house  which  Lucy  had  so  admired  long 
ago — ^her  "Beautiful  House."  George  looked  at  it 
briefly  and  turned  back,  rumbling  with  an  interior 
laugh  of  some  grinmess.  The  house  was  white  no 
longer;  nothing  could  be  white  which  the  town  had 
reached,  and  the  town  reached  far  beyond  the 
beautiful  white  house  now.  The  owners  had  given 
up  and  painted  it  a  despairing  chocolate,  suitable  to 
the  freight-yard  life  it  was  called  upon  to  endure. 

George  did  not  again  risk  going  even  so  far  as 
that,  in  the  direction  of  the  millionaires,  although 
their  settlement  began  at  least  two  miles  farther  out. 
His  thought  of  Lucy  and  her  father  was  more  a  sen- 
sation than  a  thought,  and  may  be  compared  to  that 
of  a  convicted  cashier  beset  by  recollections  of  the 



bank  he  had  pillaged — ^there  are  some  thoughts  to- 
which  one  closes  the  mind.  George  had  seen- 
Eugene  only  once  since  their  calamitous  encqimtef. 
They  had  passed  on  opposite  sides  of  the -street,; 
downtown;  each  had  been  aware  of  the  other,  and 
each  had  been  aware  that  the  other  was  aware  of  Imn, 
and  yet  each  kept  his  eyes  straight  forward,  and  ' 
neither  had  shown  a  perceptible  alteration  of  coun- 
tenance. It  seemed  to  George  that  he  felt  emanat- 
ing from  the  outwardly  impertiu'bable  person  of  his 
mother's  old  friend  a  hate  that  was  like  a  hot  wind. 

At  his  mother's  funeral  and  at  the  Major's  he  had 
been  conscioui^  that  Eugene  was  there :  though  he  had 
afterward  no  recollection  of  seeing  him,  and,  while 
certain  of  his  presence,  was  uncertain  how  he  knew 
of  it.  Fanny  had  not  told  him,  for  she  understood 
Geoi^e  well  enough  not  to  speak  to  him  of « Eugene 
or  Lucy.  Nowadays  Fanny  almost  never  saw  either 
of  them  and  seldom  thought  of  them — so  sly  is  the 
way  of  time  with  life.  She  was  passing  middle  age, 
when  old  intensities  and  longings  grow  thin  and 
flatten  out,  as  Fanny  herself  was  thinning  and  flat- 
tening out;  and  she  was  settling  down  contentedly 
to  her  apartment  house  intimacies.  She  was  pre- 
cisely suited  by  the  table-d'h6te  life,  with  its  bridget 


trived  between  the  two  ladies  without  either  of  them 
realizing  how  odd  it  was.  For,  naturally,  while 
Fanny  was  with  Lucy,  Fanny  thought  of  George, 
and  what  time  Lucy  had  George's  aunt  before  her 
eyes  she  could  not  well  avoid  the  thought  of  him. 
Consequently,  both  looked  absent-minded  as  they 
talked,  and  each  often  gave  a  wrong  answer  which 
the  other  consistently  failed  to  notice. 

At  other  times  Lucy's  thoughts  of  George  were 
anything  but  continuous,  and  weeks  went  by  when 
he  was  not  consciously  in  her  mind  at  all.  Her  life 
was  a  busy  one:  she  had  the  big  house  "to  keep  up"; 
she  had  a  garden  to  keep  up,  too,  a  large  and  beauti- 
ful garden;  she  represented  her  father  as  a  director 
for  half  a  dozen  public  charity  organizations,  and  did 
private  charity  work  of  her  own,  being  a  proxy 
mother  of  several  large  families;  and  she  had  "  danced 
down,"  as  she  said,  groups  from  eight  wnine  classes 
of  new  graduates  returned  from  the  universities, 
without  marrying  any  of  them,  but  she  still  danced — 
and  still  did  not  marry. 

Her  father,  observing  this  circumstance  -happily, 
yet  with  some  hypocritical  concern,  spoke  of  it  to  her 
one  day  as  they  stood  in  her  garden.  "I  sup*- 
pose  I'd  want  to  shoot  him,"  he  said,  with  attempted 




lightness.  "But  I  mustn't  be  an  old  pig*     I*d  build 
you  a  beautiful  house  close  by — ^just  over  yonder." 

"No,  nol    iTiat  would  be  like "  she  began 

impulsively;  then  checked  herself.  George  Amber- 
son's  comparison  of  the  Georgian  house  to  the  Amber- 
son  Mansion  had  come  into  her  mmd,  and  she 
thought  that  another  new  house,  built  close  by  for 
her,  would  be  like  the  house  the  Major  built  for  Isabel. 
Like  what?" 

Nothing."  She  looked  serious,  and  when  he 
reverted  to  his  idea  of  "some  day"  grudgingly  sur- 
rendering her  up  to  a  suitor,  she  invented  a  legend'. 
"Did  you  ever  hear  the  Indian  name  for  that  little 
grove  of  beech  trees  on  the  other  side  of  the  house?'* 
she  asked  him. 

"No — ^and  you  never  did  either!"  he  laughed. 
"Don't  be  so  sure!    I  read  a  great  deal  more  than 
I  used  to — getting  ready  for  my  bookish  days  when 
I'll  have  to  do  something  solid  in  the  evenings  and 
won't  be  asked  to  dance  any  more,  even  by  the  very 
youngest  boys  who  think  it's  a  sporting  event  to 
dance  with  the  oldest  of  the  *older  girls'.     The  name 
of    the   grove   was    'Loma-Nashah'   and   it  means 
"Doesn't  sound  like  it." 


''Indian  names  don't.  There  was  a  bad  Indian 
chief  lived  in  the  grove  before  the  white  settlers  came. 
He  was  the  worst  Indian  that  ever  lived,  and  his 
name  was — ^it  was  'Vendonah/  That  means  llides- 
Down-Everything  \  " 


''His  name  was  Vendonah,  the  same  thing  aft 
Rides-Down-E  very  thing. " 

"I  see,"  said  Eugene  thoughtfully.  He  gave  h^  a 
quick  look  and  then  fixed  his  eyes  upon  the  end  of 
the  garden  path.*    "  Go  on." 

"Vendonah  was  an  unspeakable  case,"  Lucy  con- 
tinued. "He  was  so  proud  that  he  wore  iron  shoes 
and  he  walked  over  people's  faces  with  them.  He 
was  always  killing  people  that  way,  and  so  at  last  the 
tribe  decided  that  it  wasn't  a  good  enough  e:KOuse 
for  him  that  he  waa  young  and  inexperienced-he'd 
have  to  go.  They  took  him  down  to  the  river,  and 
put  him  in  a  canoe,  and  pushed  him  out  from  shore; 
and  then  they  ran  along  the  bank  and  wouldn't  let 
him  land,  until  at  last  the  current  carried  the  canoe 
out  into  the  middle,  and  then  on  down  to  the  ocean, 
and  he  never  got  back.  They  didn't  want  him 
back,  of  course,  and  if  he'd  been  able  to  manage  it| 
th^^y'd  have  put  him  in  another  canoe  and  shoved 


him  out  mto  the  river  again.  But  still,  fimy  didn't 
elect  nBother  chief  in  his  place.  Other  tiribefi  thought 
that  was  curkms,  and  wondered  al)out  it  a  lot,  but 
finally  they  came  to  the  conclusion  that  ihe  beech 
grove  people  were  afraid  a  new  diief  might  turn  out 
to  be  a  bad  Indian,  too,  and  wear  iron  shoes  like 
Vendonah.  But  they  were  wrong,  because  the  real 
reason  was  that  the  tribe  had  led  such  an  exciting  life 
under  Vendonah  that  they  couldn't  settle  down  to 
anything  tamer.  He  was  awful,  but  he  always  kept 
thmgs  happening— terrible  things,  of  course.  They 
hated  him,  but  they  weren't  able  to  discover  any 
other  warrior  that  they  wanted  to  make  chief  in  his 
place.  I  suppose  it  was  a  little  like  drinking  a  glass 
of  too  strong  wine  and  then  trying  to  take  the  taste 
out  of  your  mouth  with  barley  water.  They  couldn't 
help  feeling  that  way." 

"  I  see,' '  said  Eugene.     "  So  that's  why  they  named 

I     the  place  They-Couldn't-Help-It'!" 
"It  must  have  been." 

I  "And  so  you're  going  to  stay  here  in  your  garden," 
he  said  musingly.  "You  think  it's  better  to  keep 
on  walking  these  sunshiny  gravel  paths  between  your 
flower-beds,  and  growing  to  look  like  a  pensive  garden 
lady  in  a  Victorian  engraving." 


"  I  suppose  I'm  like  the  tribe  that  lived  here,  papa. 
I  had  too  much  unpleasant  excitement.  It  was  un- 
pleasant— but  it  was  excitement.  I  don't  want  any 
more;  in  fact,  I  don't  want  anything  but  you." 

"You  don't?"    He  looked  at  her  keenly,  and  she 

ii     ,    . 

laughed  and  shook  her  head;  but  he  seemed  per- 
plexed, rather  doubtful.  "What  was  the  name  of 
the  grove?"  he  asked.  "The  Indian  name,  I 


"No,  it  wasn't;  that  wasn't  the  name  you  said." 

"I've  forgotten." 

"I  see  you  have,"  he  said,  his  look  of  perplexity 
temaining.  "Perhaps  you  remember  the  chief's 
name  better." 

She  shook  her  head  again.     "I  don't!" 

At  this  he  laughed,  but  not  very  heartily,  and 
walked  slowly  to  the  house,  leaving  her  bending 
over  a  rose-bush,  and  a  shade  more  pensive  than  the 
most  pensive  garden  lady  in  any  Victorian  engraving. 

.     .     .     Next  day,  it  happened  that  this  same  * 
"Vendonah"  or  "Rides-Down-Everything"  became 
the  subject  of  a  chance  conversation  between  Eugene 
and  his  old  friend  Kinney,  father  of  the  fire-topped 
Fred.     The  two  gentlemen  found  themselves  sinok« 


ing  in  neighbouring  leather  chairs  beside  a  broad 
window  at  the  club,  after  lunch. 

Mr.  Kinney  had  remarked  that  he  expected  to  get 
his  family  established  at  the  seashore  by  the  Fourth 
of  July,  and,  following  a  train  of  thought,  he  paused 
and  chuckled.  "Fourth  of  July  reminds  me,"  he 
said.  "Have  you  heard  what  that  Georgie  Minafer 
is  doing?" 

"No,  I  haven't,"  said  Eugene,  and  his  friend 
failed  to  notice  the  crispness  of  the  utterance. 

"Well,  sir,"  Kinney  chuckled  again,  "it  beats  the 
devil!  My  boy  Fred  told  me  about  it  yesterday. 
He's  a  friend  of  this  yoimg  Henry  Akers,  son  of  F.  P. 
Akers  of  the  Akers  Chemical  Company.  It  seems 
this  young  Akers  asked  Fred  if  he  knew  a  fellow 
named  Minafer,  because  he  knew  Fred  had  always 
lived  here,  and  young  Akers  had  heard  some  way 
that  Minafer  used  to  be  an  old  fainily  name  here, 
and  was  sort  of  curious  about  it.  Well,  sii,  you 
.  remember  this  young  Georgie  sort  of  disappeared, 
after  his  grandfather's  death,  and  nobody  seemed  to 
know  much  what  had  become  of  him — though  I  did 
hear,  once  or  twice,  that  he  was  still  aroimd  some- 
where. Well,  sir,  he's  working  for  the  Akers  Chemical 
'  Company,  out  at  their  plant  on  the  Thomasville  Road. " 




He  paused,  seemitig  to  leaerve  something  to  be 
delivered  only  upon  mqniry,  aad  Eugene  offered  liim 
tlie  expeeted  question,  but  only  after  a  cold  glance 
th]«ough  tbe  nose-glaisses  he  had  lately  found  it  nec- 
essary to  adopt.     *^  What  does  he  do? '' 

Kinney  laughed  and  slapped  the  arm  of  his  chair. 
"He's  a  nitro-glycerin  expert!" 

He  was  gratified  to  see  that  Eugene  was  surprised, 
if  not,  indeed,  a  little  startled. 
He's  what?" 

He's  an  expert  on  nitro^ycerin«  Doesn't  that 
beat  the  devil!  Yes,  sir!  Young  Akers  told  Fred 
that  this  George  Minaf  er  had  worked  like  a  houxi'-dog 
ever  since  he  got  started  out  at  the  works.  They 
have  a  special  plant  for  nitro-glycerin,  way  off  from 
the  main  plant,  o'  course — in  the  woods  somewhere — 
and  George  Minafer's  been  wortdbof^  there,  and 
latdty  they  put  him  in  charge  of  it.  He  oversees 
shooting  oil-wells,  too,  and  shoots  'em  himself,  sone* 
times.  They  aren't  allowed  to  carry  it  on  the  rail'- . 
roads,  you  know — have  to  team  it.  Young  Akors 
says  George  rides  around  over  the  bumpy  roads, 
sitth^  on  as  much  as  three  hundred  quarts  of  nitro- 
glycerin! My  Lord!  Talk  about  romantic  tumbles! 
If  he  gets  blown  sky-high  some  day  he  won't  have  a 


bigger  drop,  when  he  comes  down,  tiian  he*s  abready 
had!  Don't  it  beat  the  devil!  Young  Akers  said 
he's  got  all  the  nerve  there  is  in  the  wotW.  Well, 
he  always  did  have  plenty  of  that — ^from  the  time  he 
used  to^ride  around  here  on  his  white  pony  and  fight 
all  the  Irish  boys  in  Can-Town,  with  his  long  curls 
all  handy  to  be  pulled  out.  Akers  says  he  gets  a  fair 
salary,  and  I  should  think  he  ought  to!  Se^ns  to 
me  I've  heard  the  average  life  in  that  sort  of  work 
is  somewhere  around  four  years,  and  agents  don't 
write  any  insurance  at  all  for  nitro-glyceriu  experts. 

"No,"  said  Eugene.  " I  suppose  not." 
Kinney  rose  to  go.  "Well,  it's  a  pretty  funny 
thing — pretty  odd,  I  mean — and  I  suppose  it  would 
be  pass-around-the-hat  for  old  Fanny  Minafer  if  he 
blew  up.  Fred  told  me  that  they're  living  m  some 
apartment  house,  and  said  Georgie  supports  her. 
He  was  going  to  study  law,  but  couldn't  earn  enough 
that  way  to  take  care  of  Fanny,  so  he  gave  it  ftp. 
Fred's  wife  told  him  all  this.  Says  Fanny  doeera't 
do  anything  but  play  bridge  these  days.  Got  to 
playing  too  high  for  awhile  and  lost  more  than  ishe 
wanted  to  tell  Georgie  about,  and  borrowed  a  little 
from  old  Frank  Bronson.    Paid  him  back,  though. 







Don't  know  how  Fred's  wife  heard  it.    Women  do 
hear  the  damdest  things!" 
They  do,"  Eugene  agreed. 

I   thought   you'd   probably   heard   about   it — 

thought  most  likely  Fred's  wife  might  have  said  some- 

thmg  to  your  daughter,  especially  as  they're  cousms." 

"I  think  not." 

"Well,  I'm  oflf  to  the  store,"  said  Mr.  Emney 


briskly;  yet  he  lingered.     ** I  suppose  we'll  all  have  to    | 
dub  in  and  keep  old  Fanny  out  of  the  poorhouse  if 
he  does  blow  up.     From  all  I  hear  it's  usually  only 
a  question  of  time.     They  say  she  hasn't  got  any- 
thing else  to  depend  on." 

"I  suppose  not." 

"Well— I    wondered "  Kinney  hesitated.     "I 

was  wondering  why  you  hadn't  thought  of  finding 
something  aroimd  your  works  for  him.  They  say 
he's  an  all-fired  worker  and  he  certainly  does  seem 
to  have  hid  some  decent  stuff  in  him  under  all  his^ 
damfoolishness.  And  you  used  to  be  such  a  tre- 
mendous  friend  of  the  family — ^I  thought  perhaps 
you — of  course  I  know  he's  a  queer  lot — ^I  know 
he's " 

"Yes,  I  think  he   is,"    said   Eugene.     "No.     1 
haven't  anything  to  offer  him." 


''I  suppose  not/'  Kkiney  returned  thoughtfully^ 
as  he  went  out,  "I  dcm't  know  that  I  would  myself. 
Well,  we*D  probably  see  his  name  in  the  papers  scHne 
day  if  he  stays  with  that  job!'* 

.  .  .  However,  the  nitro-glyceriii  expert  of 
whom  they  spoke  did  not  get  into  the  papers  as  a 
consequence  of  being  blown  up,  although  his  daily 
life  was  certainly  a  continuous  exposure  to  that 
risk.  Destiny  has  a  ecmstant  passion  for  the  in* 
congruous,  and  it  was  George's  lot  to  manipulate 
wholesale  quantities  of  terrific  and  volatile  expio* 
sives  in  safety,  and  to  be  laid  low  by  an  accident  so 
commcmplace  and  inconsequent  that  it  was  a 
\;omedy.  Fate  had  reserved  for  him  the  final  insult 
of  riding  him  down  under  the  wheels  of  one  of  those 
juggernauts  at  which  he  had  once  shouted  "Git 
a  hoss!"  NevCTtheless,  Plate's  ironic  choice  for 
Georgie's  undoing  was  not  a  big  and  swift  and 
momentous  car,  such  as  Eugene  manufactured;  it 
was  a  specimen  of  the  hustling  little  type  that 
was  flooding  the  country,  the  dieapest,  commonest, 
hardiest  little  car  ever  made. 

The  accident  took  place  upon  a  Sunday  morning, 
on  a  downtown  crossing,  with  the  streets  almost 
oiipty,  and  no  reason  in  the  j^orid  for  such  a  thing 


to  happen.  He  had  gone  out  for  his  Sunday  morning 
walk,  and  he  was  thinking  of  an  automobile  at  the 
very  moment  when  the  little  ear  struck  him;  he  was 
thinking  of  a  shiny  landaulet  and  a  charming  fig- 
ure stepping  into  it,  and  of  the  quick  gesture  of  a 
white  glove  toward  the  chauflFeur,  motioning  him 
to  go  on.  George  heard  a  shout  but  did  not  look 
up,  for  he  could  not  imagine  anybody's  shouting  at 
him,  and  he  was  too  engrossed  in  the  question 
"Was  it  Lucy?"  He  could  not  decide,  and  his  lack 
of  decision  in  this  matter  probably  superinduced  a 


lack  of  decision  in  another,  more  pressingly  vital. 
At  the  second  and  louder  shout  he  did  look  up;  and 
the  car  was  almost  on  him;  but  he  could  not  make  up 
his  mind  if  the  charming  little  figure  he  had  seen 
was  Lucy's  and  he  could  not  make  up  his  mind 
whether  to  go  backward  or  forward:  these  questions 
became  entangled  in  his  mind.  Then,  still  not 
being  able  to  decide  which  of  two  ways  to  go,  he 
tried  to  go  both — ^and  the  little  car  ran  him  down. 
It  was  not  moving  very  rapidly,  but  it  went  all  the 
way  over  George. 

He  was  conscious  of  gigantic  violence;  of  roaring 
and  jolting  and  concussion;  of  choking  clouds  of  dust, 
shot  with  lightning,  about  his  head;  he  heard  snap- 


pfng  sounds  as  loud  as  shots  from  a  small  pistol, 
and  was  stabbed  by  excruciating  pains  in  his  legs. 
Then  he  became  aware  that  the  machine  was  being 
lifted  off  of  him.  People  were  gathering  in  a  circle 
round  him,  gabbling. 

His  forehead  was  bedewed  with  the  sweat  of  ang- 
uish, and  he  tried  to  wipe  off  this  dampness,  but 
failed.     He  could  not  get  his  arm  that  far. 

"Nev*  mind,"  a  policeman  said;  and  George  could 
see  above  his  eyes  the  skirts  of  the  blue  coat,  covered 
mth  dust  and  sunshine.  "Amb'lance  be  here  in  a 
minute.  Nev'  mind  tryin'  to  move  any.  You  want 
'em  to  send  for  some  special  doctor?'* 

"No.**     George's  lips  formed  the  word. 

"Or  to  take  you  to  some  private  hospital?'* 

"Tell  them  to  take  me,"  he  said  faintly,  "to  the 
City  Hospital." 

"A'  right." 

A  smallish  young  man  in  a  dusted  fidgeted  ailiong 
the  crowd,  explaining  and  protesting,  and  a  strident 
voiced  girl,  his  companion,  supported  his  argument, 
declaring  to  everyone  her  willingness  to  offer  testi- 
mony  in  any  court  of  law  that  every  blessed  word 
he  said  was  the  God's  truth. 

"It's  the  fella  that  hit  you,"  the  policeman  said, 


looking  down  on  George.  ""I  guess  he's  right;  you 
must  of  b'en  thinkin'  about  somep'm'  or  other. 
It's  wunnerful  the  damage  them  little  machines 
can  do — you'd  never  think  it — ^but  I  guess  they 
ain't  much  case  ag'in  this  fella  that  was  drivin'  it«" 

^*You  bet  your  lite  they  ain't  no  case  on  me!" 
the  young  man  in  the  duster  agreed*  with  great  bit- 
terness. He  came  and  stood  at  Geoige's  feet, 
addiesamg  him  heatedly:  'Tm  sorry  fer  you  all 
rig^t,  and  I  doaH  S9^  I  ain't.  I  hold  nothin'  against 
you*  but  it  wasn't  any  more  my  fault  than  the  state* 
house!  You  run  into  me*  much  as  I  run  into  you, 
and  if  you  get  well  you  ain't  goin'  to  get  not  one 
single  cent  out  o'  me !  This  lady  here  was  settin'  with 
me  and  we  both  yelled  at  you.  Wasn't  goin'  a 
step  over  eight  mile  an  hour  I  I'm  perfectly  willing 
to  say  I'm  sorry  for  you  though,  and  so's  the  lady 
with  me.  We're  both  willing  to  say  that  much* 
but  that's  all*  understand!" 

George's  drawn  ^elids  twitdied;  his  misted 
glance  rested  fleetingly  upon  the  two  protesting 
motorists*  and  the  old  imperious  spirit  within  him 
flickered  up  in  a  single  word.  I^ing  on  his  back 
in  the  middle  of  the  street,  whece  he  was  regarded 
by  an  mcreasing  public  as  an  unpleasant  curiot^tyi 


he  spoke  this  word  clearly  from  a  inoutli  filled 
with  dust,  and  from  lips  smeared  with  blood. 

.  .  .  It  was  a  word  which  interested  the  police- 
man. When  the.  ambulance  clanged  away,  he 
turned  to  a  fellow  patrolman  who  had  joined  him. 
''Funny  what  he  says  to  the  little  cuss  that  done  the 
damage.  That's  all  he  did  call  him — ^nothin'  else 
at  all— and  the  cuss  had  broke  both  his  l<«s  fer  him 
and  God-knows-what*^!'' 

''I  wam't  here  then.    What  waj  it?** 



EUGENE'S  feeling  about  Geoige  had  not 
been  altered  by  his  talk  with  Kinney  in  the 
club  window,  though  he  was  somewhat  dis* 
turbed.  He  was  not  disturbed  by  Kinney's  hint 
that  Fanny  Minaf er  might  be  left  on  the  hands  of  her 
friends  through  her  nephew's  present  dealings  with 
nitro-glyeerin,  but  he  was  surprised  that  Kinney  had 
"led  up  "  with  intentional  tact  to  the  suggestion  that 
a  position  might  be  made  for  George  in  the  Morgan 
factory.  Eugene  did  not  care  to  have  any  sug- 
gestions about  Georgie  Minaf  er  made  to  him, 
Kinney  had  represented  Georgie  as  a  new  Georgie — 
at  least  in  spots — ^a  Georgie  who  was  proviag  that 
decent  stuflF  had  been  hid  in  him;  in  fact,  a  Georgie 
who  was  doing  rather  a  handsome  thing  in  taking  a 
risky  job  for  the  sake  of  his  aunt,  poor  old  silly  Fanny 
Minaf  er!  Eugene  didn't  care  what  risks  Georgie 
took,  or  how  much  decent  stuff  he  had  in  him :  nothing 
that  Georgie  would  ever  do  in  this  world  or  the  next 
could  change  Eugene  Morgan's  feeling  toward  him. 



If  Eugene  could  possibly  have  brought  himself  to 
offer  Georgie  a  position  in  the  automobile  business, 
he  knew  full  well  the  proud  devil  wouldn't  have 
taken  it  from  him;  though  Georgie's  proud  reason 
would  not  have  been  the  one  attributed  to  him  by 
Eugene.  George  would  never  reach  the  point 
where  he  could  accept  anything  material  from 
Eugene  and  preserve  the  self-respect  he  had  b^un 
to  r^ain.  • 

Biit  if  Eugene  had  wished,  he  could  easily  have 
taken  George  out  of  the  nitro-glycerin  branch  of 
the  chemical  works.  Always  interested  in  apparent 
impossibiUties  of  invention,  Eugene  had  encour- 
aged many  experiments  in  such  gropings  as  those  for 
the  discovery  of  substitutes  for  gasoline  and  rubber; 
and,  though  his  mood  had  withheld  the  information 
from  Kinney,  he  had  recently  bought  from  the  elder 
Akers  a  substantial  quantity  of  stock  on  the  con- 
dition that  the  chemical  company  should  establish 
an  experimental  laboratory.  He  intended  to  buy 
more;  Akers  was  anxious  to  please  him;  and  a  word 
from  Eugene  would  have  placed  George  almost  any- 
where in  the  chemical  works.  George  need  never 
have  known  it,  for  Eugene's  purchases  of  stock  were 
always  quiet  ones:  the  transaction  remained,  so  far. 


betweoi  him  and  Akns,  and  oould  be  kqit  between 

Hie  pofisilMlity  just  edged  itself  into  Eugene's 
mind;  that  is,  he  let  it  become  part  of  his  peiccp- 
tions  loi^  enoii^  for  it  to  ptove  to  him  that  it  was 
actually  a  possibility.  Then  he  half  started  wilh 
disgust  that  he  should  be  even  idly  considenng  sudb 
a  thing  over  his  last  c%ar  for  the  ni^bt,  in  his  lilwajy . 
'*No!"  ,  And  he  threw  the  cigar  into  the  emptjf 
&q>laee  and  went  to  bed. 

His  bitterness  for  hiaofidf  might  have  worm  away, 
but  never  his  bitterness  for  Isabd.  He  took  that 
thought  to  bed  with  him — and  it  was  true  that 
nothing  George  could  do  would  ever  dumge  this 
bitterness  of  Eugene.  Only  Greoige's  mother  could 
have  changed  it. 

And  as  Eugene  fell  adoep  that  night,  tfamlring 
thus  bitterly  ot  Geoargie,  Georgie  in  the  hospital  was 
tliinlrmg  oi  Eugcne.  He  had  come  *^out  of  ether" 
with  no  great  nausea,  and  had  fallen  into  a  reverie, 
though  now  and  then  a  white  sailboat  staggered 
foolishly  into  the  small  ward  where  he  lay.  After 
a  time  he  discovered  that  this  happened  only 
when  he  tried  to  open  his  eyes  and  look  about  him; 
so  he  k^t  his  eyes  shut*  and  his  thoughts  were  clearer. 


He  thought  of  Eiigene  Morgan  and  of  the  Major; 
they  seemed  to  be  the  saane  person  for  imhile,  btrt 
he  managed  to  disentangle  them  and  even  to  under* 
stand  why  he  had  confused  them.  Long  ago  his 
grandfather  had  been  the  most  strikmg  figure  of 
success  in  the  town:  **As  rich  as  Major  Amber- 
son!"  they  used  to  say.  Now  it  was  Eugene.  **H 
I  had  Eugene  Morgan^s  money,**  he  would  hear  the 
workmen  day-^beammg  at  the  chemical  woAs;  or, 
^^B  Eugene  Moigan  had  hold  erf  this  place  you'd  see 
things  hum!"  And  the  boarders  at  the  table  d^hflte 
spoke  of  **iiie  Morgan  Place"  as  an  e%hteenth-cen« 
tury  Frendiman  spoke  of  Versailles.  Lfite  his 
unde,  George  had  perceived  that  the  ^*  Merman 
Race"  was  the  new  Amberson  Mansion.  His 
reverie  went  back  to  the  palatial  days  of  the  Mmi- 
ftion,  in  his  boyhood,  when  he  would  gaBop  YAa 
pony  up  the  driveway  and  order  the  darkey  stable- 
men about,  while  they  whooped  and  obQred,  and 
his  grandfeither,  observing  from  a  window,  wemld 
laugh  and  caH  out  to  him,  "That's  right,  €reoigie. 
Make  those  lazy  rascals  jmnpt"  He  remembered 
his  gay  young  uncles,  and  how  the  town  was  eaget 
oonceming  everything  about  them,  and  about  him* 
self.    What  a  clean,  pretty  town  it  had  beent    And 


in  his  reverie  he  saw  like  a  pageant  before  him  the 
magnificence  of  the  Ambersons — ^its  passing,-and  the 
passing  of  the  Ambersons  themselves.  They  had 
been  slowly  engulfed  without  knowing  how  to  pre- 
vent it»  and  almost  without  knowing  what  was 
happening  to  them.  The  family  lot,  in  the  shabby 
older  quarter,  out  at  the  cemetery,  held  most  of  them 
now;  and  the  name  was  swept  altogether  from  the 
new  city.  But  the  new  great  people  who  had  taken 
their  places — ^the  Morgans  and  Akerses  and  Sheri- 
dans — ^they  would  go,  too.  George  saw  that. 
They  would  pass,  as  the  Ambersons  had  passed, 
and  though  some  of  them  might  do  better  than  the 
Major  and  leave  the  letters  that  spelled  a  name  on  a 
hospital  or  a  street,  it  would  be  only  a  word  and  it 
would  not  stay  forever.  Nothing  stays  or  holds  or 
keeps  where  there  is  growth,  he  somehow  perceived 
vaguely  but  truly.  Great  Caesar  dead  and  tulned 
to  clay  stopped  no  hole  to  keep  the  wind  away; 
dead  Csesar  was  nothing  but  a  tiresome  bit  of  print 
in  a  book  that  schoolboys  study  for  awhile  and  then 
forget.  The  Ambersons  had  passed,  and  the  new 
people  would  pass,  and  the  new  people  that  came 
after  them,  and  then  the  next  new  ones,  and  the 
next — and  the  next 


He  had  begun  to  murmur,  and  the  man  on  duty 
as  night  nurse  for  the  ward  came  and  bent  over  hun. 

Did  you  want  something?" 

There's  nothing  in  this  family  business/'  George 
told  him  confidentially.  "Even  George  Washing- 
ton is  only  something  in  a  book." 



.  .  .  Eugene  read  a  report  of  the  accident  in  the 
next  morning's  paper.  He  was  on  the  train,  havmg 
just  left  for  New  York,  on  business,  and  with  less 
leisure  would  probably  have  overlooked  the  obscure 


G.  A.  Minafer,  an  ^ploye  of  the  Akers  Chemical  Co.,  was  nin 
down  by  an  automobile  yesterday  at  the  corner  of  Tennessee  and 
Main  and  had  both  legs  broken.  Hinafer  was  to  blame  for  the 
accident  according  to  patrolman  F.  A.  Kax,  who  witnessed  the 
affair.  The  automobile  was  a  small  one  driven  by  Herbert 
CotUeman  of  2173  Noble  Avenue  who  stated  that  he  was  making 
less  than  4  miles  an  hour.  Minafer  is  said  to  belong  to  a  family 
formerly  of  considerable  prominence  in  the  city.  He  was  taken 
to  the  City  Hospital  where  physicians  stated  later  that  he  was 
suffering  from  internal  injuries  besides  the  fracture  of  his  Ieg9 
but  might  recover. 

Eugene  read  the  item  twice,  then  tossed  the  paper 
upon  the  opposite  seat  of  his  compartment,  and  sat 
looking  out  of  the  window.    His  feeling  toward 


Geoi^e  WM  changed  not  a  jot  by  his  human  pity 
tof  Georgia's  human  pun  and  mjuiy.  He  thought 
of  Georgie's  tall  and  graceful  figure^  and  be  shivered, 
bttt  his  bitterness  was  untouched.  He  had  never 
blafioed  Isabel  for  the  weakness  which  had  cost 
them  the  few  years  of  bapjuness  they  might  have  had 
together;  he  had  put  the  blame  all  on  the  son,  and 
it  stayed  there. 

He  b^an  to  think  poignantly  of  Liabel:  he  had 
seldom  been  able  to  ^^see"  her  more  clearly  than  as 
he  sat  lookii^  out  of  his  compartment  window,  after 
reading  the  account  of  this  accident.  She  might 
have  been  just  on  the  other  side  of  the  glass,  looking 
in  at  him — ^and  then  he  thought  of  her  as  the  pale 
figure  of  a  woman,  seen  yet  unseen,  flying  through 
the  air,  beside  the  train,  over  the  fields  of  springtime 
green  and  through  the  woods  that  were  just  i^routii^; 
out  their  little  leaves.  He  closed  his  ^es  and  saw 
her  as  she  had  been  long  ago.  He  saw  the  brown- 
eyed,  brown-haired,  proud,  gentle,  lau^^iing  girl  he 
had  known  when  first  he  came  to  town,  a  boy  just 
out  of  the  State  College.  He  remembered — ^as  he 
had  remembered  ten  thousand  times  before — ^the 
look  rile  gave  him  wh^i  her  brother  George  intro- 
duced him  to  her  at  a  picnic;  it  was  ""lih^  hasdl 


starlight"  he  had  written  her,  m  a  poem,  afterward. 
He  remembered  his  first  call  at  the  Amberson  Man- 
sion, and  what  a  great  personage  she  seemed,  at 
home  in  that  magnificence;  and  yet  so  gay  and 
friendly.  He  remembered  the  first  time  he  had 
danced  with  her — ^aad  the  old  waltz  song  b^an  to 
beat  in  his  ears  and  in  his  heart.  They  laughed  and 
Mug  it  together  as  they  danced  to  it: 

'Ob,  love  for  a  year,  a  week,  a  day. 
But  akus  for  the  love  that  lasts  aihmy- 

Most  plainly  of  all  he  could  see  her  dancing;  and 
he  became  articulate  in  the  mourning  whisper: 
•*So  graceful — oh,  so  graceful *' 

All  the  way  to  New  York  it  seemed  to  Mm  that 
Isabel  was  near  him,  and  he  wrote  of  her  to  Lucy  from 
his  hotel  the  next  night: 

I  saw  an  account  of  the  accident  to  George  Minafer.  I'm 
sorry,  though  the  paper  states  that  it  was  plainly  his  own  fanlt. 
I  suppose  it  may  have  been  as  a  result  of  my  atteattdB  falling 
upon  the  item  that  I  thought  of  his  mother  a  great  deal  on  the 
way  here.  It  seemed  to  me  that  I  had  never  seen  her  more  dis- 
tinctly or  so  constantly,  but,  as  you  know,  thinking  of  his 
mother  is  not  very  apt  to  make  me  admire  him!  Of  eourae, 
however,  he  has  my  best  wishes  for  his  recovery. 

He  posted  the  letter,  and  by  the  moining's  mail  re- 
Mired  one  from  Lucy  wiatten  a  few  houis  after  his 



departure  from  home.    She  enclosed  the  item  he  had 
read  on  the  train . 

I  thought  you  might  not  see  it, 

I  have  seen  Miss  Fanny  and  she  has  got  him  put  into 
a  room  by  himself.  Oh,  poor  Rides-Down-Everythingl 
I  have  been  thinking  so  constantly  of  his  mother  and  it  seemed 
to  me  that  I  have  never  seen  her  more  distinctly.  How  lovely 
she  was — and  how  she  loved  him! 


If  Lucy  had  not  written  this  letter  Eugene  might 
not  have  done  the  odd  thing  he  did  that  day. 
Nothing  could  have  been  more  natural  than  that 
both  he  and  Lucy  should  have  thought  intently  of 
Isabel  after  reading  the  account  of  George's  acci- 
dent, but  the  fact  that  Lucy's  letter  had  crossed  his 
own  made  Eugene  begin  to  wonder  if  a  phenomenon 
of  telepathy  might  not  be  in  question,  rather  than  a 
chance  coincidence.  The  reference  to  Isabel  in  the 
two  letters  was  almost  identical:  he  and  Lucy,  it 
appeared,  had  been  thinking  of  Isabel  at  the  same 
time — ^both  said  "constantly"  thinking  of  her — 
and  neither  had  ever  "seen  her  more  distinctlv.'* 
He  remembered  these  phrases  in  his  own  letter 
.  accurately. 

Reflection  upon  the  circumstance  stirred  a  queer 
spot  in  Eugene's  brain — ^he  had  one.  He  was  an 
adventurer;  if  he  had  lived  in  the  sixteenth  century 


he  would  have  sailed  the  unknown  new  seas,  but 
having  been  bom  in  the  latter  part  of  the  nineteenth, 
when  geography  was  a  fairly  well-settled  matter, 
he  had  become  an  explorer  in  mechanics.  But  the 
fact  that  he  was  a  "hard-headed  business  man" 
as  well  as  an  adventurer  did  not  keep  him  from 
having  a  queer  spot  in  his  brain,  because  hard-headed 
business  men  are  as  susceptible  to  such  spots  as 
adventurers  are.  Some  of  them  are  secretly  troubled 
when  they  do  not  see  the  new  moon  over  the  lucky 
shoulder;  some  of  them  have  strange,  secret  incre- 
dulities— they  do  not  believe  in  geology,  for  instance; 
and  some  of  them  think  they  have  had  supernatural 
experiences.  "Of  course  there  was  nothing  in  it — 
still  it  was  queer!"  they  say. 

Two  weeks  after  Isabel's  death,  Eugene  had  come 
to  New  York  on  urgent  business  and  found  that  the 
delayed  arrival  of  a  steamer  gave  him  a  day  with 
nothing  to  do.  His  room  at  the  hotel  had  become 
intolerable;  outdoors  was  intolerable;  everything  was 
intolerable.  It  seemed  to  him  that  he  must  see 
Isabel  once  more,  hear  her  voice  once  more;  that  he 
must  find  some  way  to  her,  or  lose  his  mind.  Under 
this  pressure  he  had  gone,  with  complete  scepticism, 
to  a  "  trance-medimn "  of  whom  he  had  heard  wild 


accounts  from  the  wife  of  a  business  acquaintance. 
He  thought  desp«uringiy  that  at  least  such  an  exenr- 
skm  would  be  "  trying  to  do  ^om^thing ! "  He  femem- 
bered  the  woman's  name;  found  it  m  the  telephone 
book,  and  made  an  appointment. 

The  experi«ice  had  been  grotesque,  and  he  came 
away  with  an  encouraging  message  from  his  father, 
who  had  failed  to  identify  himself  satis&ictorily^  but 
dedared  that  everything  was  "on  a  higher  piane" 
in  his  present  state  of  being,  and  that  all  Sfe  was 
** continuous  and  pn>gressive/'  Mrs.  HiMmer  spoke 
of  herself  as  a  **psy<Aic";  but  otherwise  she  seemed 
oddly  unpret^itious  and  matter-of-fact;  and  Eugene 
had  no  doubt  at  all  of  her  sincerity.  He  w»s  sure 
that  she  was  not  an  intentional  fraud,  and  though 
he  departed  in  a  state  of  annoyance  with  himself, 
he  came  to  the  conclusion  that  if  any  credulity  were 
played  upon  by  Mrs.  Homer's  exhibitions,  it  was 
her  own. 

Nevertheless,  his  queer  spot  having  been  stinm- 
lated  to  action  by  the  coincidence  of  the  letters,  he 
went  to  Mrs.  Homer's  after  his  directors'  meeting- to-^ 
day.  He  used  the  telephone  booth  in  the  directors' 
room  to  make  the  appointment;  and  he  laughed 
feebly  at  himself,  and  wondered  what  the  git>up  of 


men  in  thftt  mahogiany  apartmeat  would  thmk  if  they 
knew  what  he  was  doing.  Mrs.  Hom^  had  c^nged 
her  addfess>  but  he  found  the  new  one»  and  somebody 
purporting  to  be  a  nieee  of  hers  talked  to  him  and 
madie  an  ai^ooitment  tof  a  ^sitting"  at  five  o'clock. 

He  was  prompt,  and  the  niece,  a  duU-faced  fat  girl 
with  m  magassine  under  her  am.  admitted  him  to 
Mrs.  Homer's  apartment,  which  smelt  of  camph<^; 
and  slK»wed  him  into  a  room  with  gray  painted  walls, 
no  rug  on  the  floor  and  no  furniture  except  a  table 
(with  nothing  on  it)  and  two  chairs:  one  a  leather 
easy-chair  and  the  other  a  stiff  little  brute  with  a 
wooden  seat.  There  was  one  window  with  the  shade 
pulled  <k>wn  to  the  sill,  but  the  sun  was  bright 
outside,  and  the  room  had  light  enough. 

Mrs.  Homer  appeared  in  the  doorway,  a  wan  and 
unenterimsing  looking  woman  in  brown,  with  thin 
hair  artificially  waved — but  not  recently — ^and  parted 
in  the  middle  over  a  bluish  forehead.  Her  eyes  were 
lanali  and  seemed  weak, but  she  recognized  the  visitor. 

"Oh,  you  been  here  before,"  she  said,  in  a  thin 
voice,  not  unmusical.  "I  recollect  you.  Quite  a 
time  ago,  wa'n't  it?" 

"Yes,  quite  a  long  time." 

**I   recollect   because   I   recollect   you   was   dis- 


appointed.  Anyway,  you  was  kind  of  cross.''  She 
laughed  faintly. 

"I'm  sorry  if  I  seemed  so,"  Eugene  said.  "Do 
you  happen  to  have  found  out  my  name?" 

She  looked  surprised  and  a  little  reproachful. 
"Why,  no.  I  never  try  to  find  out  people's  names. 
Why  should  I?  I  don't  claim  anything  for  the 
power;  I  only  know  I  have  it — and  some  ways  it 
ain't  always  such  a  blessing,  neither,  I  can  tell 

Eugene  did  not  press  an  investigation  of  her 
meaning,  but  said  vaguely,  "I  suppose  not.    Shall 

we " 


All  right,"  she  assented,  dropping  into  the 
leather  chair,  with  her  back  to  the  shaded  window. 
**  You  better  set  down,  too,  I  reckon.  I  hope  you'll 
get  something  this  time  so  you  won't  feel  cross, 
but  I  dimno.     /  can't  never  tell  what  they'll  do. 

Well ", 

She  sighed,  closed  her  eyes,  and  was  silent,  while 
Eugene,  seated  in  the  stiff  chair  across  the  table 
from  her,  watched  her  profile,  thought  himself  an 
idiot,  and  called  himself  that  and  other  names. 
And  as  the  silence  continued,  and  the  impassive 
woman  in  the  easy-chair  remained  impassive,  he 


b^an  to  wonder  what  had  led  him  to  be  such  a  fool. 
It  became  clear  to  hun  that  the  similarity  of  his 
letter  and  Lucy's  needed  no  explanation  involving 
telepathy,  and  was  not  even  an  extraordinary  coin- 
cidence. What,  then,  had  brought  him  back  to  this 
absurd  place  and  caused  him  to  be  watching  this 
absurd  woman  taking  a  nap  in  a  chair?  In  brief. 
What  the  devil  did  he  mean  by  it.'*  He  had  not  the 
slightest  interest  in  Mrs.  Homer's  naps — or  in  her 
teeth,  which  were  being  slightly  revealed  by  the 
unconscious  parting  of  her  Ups,  as  her  breathing 
became  heavier.  If  the  vagaries  of  his  own  mind 
had  brought  him  into  such  a  grotesquerie  as  this, 
into  what  did  the  vagaries  of  other  men's  minds  take 
them?  Confident  that  he  was  ordinarily  saner  than 
most  people,  he  perceived  that  since  he  was  capable 
of  doing  a  thing  like  this,  other  men  did  even  more 
idiotic  things,  in  secret.  And  he  had  a  fleeting 
vision  of  sober-looking  bankers  and  manufacturers 
and  lawyers,  well-dressed  church-going  men,  sound 
citizens — and  all  as  queer  as  the  deuce  inside! 

How  long  was  he  going  to  sit  here  presiding  over 
this  unknown  woman's  slumbers?  It  struck  him 
that  to  make  the  picture  complete  he  ought  to  be 
shooing  flies  away  from  her  with  a  palm-leaf  fan. 




Mrs.  Homer's  parted  lips  closed  again  abnqitljrr 
and  became  compressed;  her  shoulders  moved  a  litfJe» 
then  jerked  repeatedly;  her  small  chest  heaved;  sibe 
gasped,  and  the  compressed  lips  relaxed  to  a  sl^t 
contortion,  then  b^gan  to  move,  wfaispermg  and 
^Hinging  forth  indistinguishable  mutterings. 

Suddenly  she  spoke  in  a  loud,  husky  voice: 
Lopa  is  here!" 

Yes,"  Eugene  said  dryly.  "Tliat's  what  you 
said  last  time.  I  remember  'Ijops,.*  She's  your 
'contior  I  think  you  said." 

**rm  Lopa,"  saM  the  husky  voice.  ^^Fm  Lopa 

"You  mean  I'm  to  suppose  you're  not  Mrs.  Hor- 
ner now?" 

**Never  was  Mrs.  Homer!"  the  voice  declared, 
speaking  undeniably  from  Mrs.  Hcmi^'s.lqis — ^but 
with  such  conviction  that  Eugene,  in  spite  of  eveiy- 
thing,  began  to  feel  himself  in  the  presence  of  a  thkd 
party,  who  was  none  the  less  an  individual,  even 
though  she  might  be  another  edition  of  the  apparently 
somnambulistic  Mrs.  Homer.  "Never  was  Mrs. 
Homer  or  anybody  but  just  Lopa.     Guide." 

"You  mean  you're  Mrs.  Horner's  guide?''  be 


^  Your  guide  now/'  said  the  voice  with  emphasis, 
to  which  was  incongruously  added  a  low  laugh. 
'"You  came  here  once  before.    Lopa  remembers." 

"  Yes— so  did  Mrs.  Homer." 

Lopa  overlooked  his  impUcationy  and  ccmtinued 
quickly:  *^ You  biuld.  Build  things  that  go.  You 
came  here  once  and  old  gentleman  on  this  side,  he 
spoke  to  you.  Same  old  gentlenum  here  now« 
He  teii  Lopa  he's  your  grandfather — ^no,  he  saya 
^father.'    He's  your  father.' 

^'  What's  his  appearance? 


*  What  does  he  look  like?  " 

"Very  fine!  White  beard,  but  not  long  beard. 
He  says  someone  else  wants  to  speak  to. you.  See 
here.  Lady.  Not  his  wife,  though.  No.  Very 
fine  lady!  Fine  lady,  fine  lady!" 
Is  it  my  sister?"  Eugene  asked. 
Sister?  No.  She  is  shaking  her  head.  She  has 
pretty  brown  hair.  She  is  fond  of  you.  She  is  some- 
one who  knows  you  vfery  well  but  she  is  not  your 
sister.  She  is  very  anxious  to  say  something  to  you 
— ^very  anxious.  Very  fond  of  you;  very  anxious  to 
f:alk  to  you.  Very  glad  you  came  here — oh,  wry 




What  is  her  name?" 

Name/*  the  voice  repeated,  and  seemed  to 
ruminate.  "Name  hard  to  get — always  very  hard 
for  Lopa.  Name.  She  wants  to  tell  me  her  name 
to  tell  you.  She  wants  you  to  understand  names 
are  hard  to  make.  She  says  you  must  think  of  some- 
thing that  makes  a  sound."  Here  the  voice  seemed 
to  put  a  question  to  an  invisible  presence  and  to  re-^ 
ceive  an  answer.  **A  little  sound  or  a  big  soimd.'* 
She  says  it  might  be  a  little  sound  or  a  big  soimd. 
She  says  a  ring — oh,  Lopa  knows!  She  means  a 
beU!     That's  it,  a  beU." 

Eugene  looked  grave.  "  Does  she  mean  her  name 
i^  Belle?" 

Not  quite.     Her  name  is  longer." 
Perhaps,"  he  suggested,  "she  means  that  she  was 
a  belle." 

"No.  She  says  she  thinks  you  know  what  she 
means.  She  says  you  must  think  of  a  colour.  What 
colour?"  Again  Lopa  addressed  the  unknown,  but 
this  time  seemed  to  wait  for  an  answer. 

"Perhaps  she  means  the  colour  of  her  eyes,"  said 

"No.  She  says  her  colour  is  light — it's  a  light 
colour  and  you  can  see  through  it." 




^' Amber?"  he  said,  and  was  startled,  for  Mrs. 
Homer,  with*  her  eyes  still  closed,  clapped  her  hands, 
and  the  voice  cried  out  in  delight: 

"Yes!  She  says  you  know  who  she  is  from  amber. 
Amber!  Amber!  That's  it!  She  says  you  under- 
stand what  her  name  is  from  a  bell  and  from  amber. 
She  is  laughing  and  waving  a  lace  handkerchief  at 
me  because  she  is  pleased.  She  says  I  have  made 
you  know  who  it  is." 

This  was  the  strangest  moment  of  Eugene's  life, 
because,  while  it  lasted,  he  beUeved  that  Isabel  Am- 
berson,  who  was  dead,  had  found  means  to  speak  to 
him.  Though  within  ten  minutes  he  doubted  it, 
he  believed  it  then. 

His  elbows  pressed  hard  upon  the  table,  and,  his 
head  between  his  hands,  he  leaned  forward,  staring 
at  the  commonplace  figure  in  the  easy-chair.     "  What  • 
does  she  wish  to  say  to  me?" 

"She  is  happy  because  you  know  her.  No — ^she 
is  troubled.  Oh — a  great  trouble!  Something  she 
wants  to  tell  you.  She  wants  so  much  to  tell  you. 
She  wai^t^s  Lopa  to  tell  you.  This  is  a  great  trouble. 
She  says — oh,  yes,  she  wants  you  to  be — ^to  be  kind! 
That's  what  she  says.    That's  it.    To  be  kind*^ 

"Does  she " 


*'SIie  wants  you  to  be  kind,"  said  the  voice.  **She 
Bods  when  I  tdl  you  this.  Yea;  it  mast  be  i^^t. 
She  is  a  very  fine  lady.  V^y  pretty.  She  is  so 
anxious  for  you  to  understand.  She  hc^^es  and  hopes 
y<Hi  wilL  Someone  else  wants  to  speak  to  you.  This 
ia  a  laaji.    He  say*—-** 

^I  don't  want  to  speak  to  any  Oiie  ebe,'*  said 
Eugene  quickly.     "I  want ** 

"'This  man  who  has  come  says  that  he  is  a  friend 
ol  yours.    He  says  ■    ■    ** 

ilugene  stiuck  the  table  witii  his  £»t.     ^^I  dim't 
want  to  q>€ak  to  any  one  else,  I  tell  you!*'  he  cried 

pasfiismatety.     '"H  she  is  there  I **    He  caught 

his  breath  sharply,  checked  hims^,  and  sat  ia 
amazement.  Could  his  mind  so  easify  accept  so 
adkupendous  a  thing  as  true?    Evidently  it  eonld! 

Mrs.  Homer  spoke  languidly  in  her  own  voice: 
Did  you  get  anything  aatisCaetory?*'  she  asked* 
I  certainly  lM4)e  it  wasn't  like  that  o&er  tune  when 
you  was  cross  because  they  couldn't  get  anythio^ 
tw  ycm." 

^'No,  no/'  he  said  hastily.     ^^Tbis  was  dMere&L' 
It  was  very  interesting." 

He  paid  her,  went  to  his  hotel,  and  tbenoe  to  his 
train  for  home.    Never  did  he  so  seem  to  move 




tliffougb  a  ^^rld  of  dream-stuff:  for  he  knew  that 
he  was  not  more  credulous  than  other  men,  and  if 
he  could  believe  what  he  had  bdieved,  thou^  he  had 
beUeved  it  for  no  longer  than  a  moosittit  or  two>  what 
hold  had  he  or  any  other  human  being  on  reality? 

His  credulity  vanished  (or  so  he  thought)  with  his 
recdilection  that  it  was  he,  and  not  the  alleged  ^'  Lopa," 
who  had  suggested  the  woixl  "'amber/'  Going  over 
the  mortifyiog^  plain  facts  of  his  experience,  he  found 
that  Mrs.  Horner»  or  the  subdivision  of  Mrs. 
Homer  known  as  **Lopa,"  had  told  him  to  think  of 
a  bell  and  of  a  oolom*,  and  that  being  furnished  with 
these  sdentific  data,  he  had  leaped  to  the  conclusion 
that  he  spoke  with  Isabel  Amberson ! 

For  a  moment  he  had  believed  that  Isabel  was 
there,  believed  that  she  was  close  to  him,  entreating 
him — entreating  him  '^to  be  kind/'  But  with  this 
recoIlecticHi  a  strange  agitation  came  upon  him. 
After  all,  had  die  not  spoken  to  him?  If  his  own 
unknown  consciousness  had  told  the  "psychic's*'  un* 
known  consciousness  how  to  make  the  picture  of  the 
pretty  brown-haired,  brown-eyed  lady,  hadn't  the 
picture  been  a  true  one?  And  hadn't  the  true  Isabel 
— oky  indeed  her  very  soul! — called  to  him  out  of  his 
own  true  memory  of  her? 


And  as  the  train  roared  through  the  darkened 
evening  he  looked  out  beyond  his  window,  and  saw 
her  as  he  had  seen  her  on  his  journey,  a  few  days  ago 
— ^an  ethereal  figure  flying  beside  the  train,  but  now 
it  seemed  to  him  that  she  kept  her  face  toward  his 
window  with  an  infinite  wistfukiess. 

.  •  .  "To  be  kind!''  If  it  had  been  Isabel, 
was  that  what  she  would  have  said?  If  she  were 
anywhere,  and  could  come  to  him  through  the  in- 
visible wall,  what  would  be  the  first  thing  she  would 
say  to  him? 

Ah,  well  enough,  and  perhaps  bitterly  enough,  he 
knew  the  answer  to  that  question!  "To  be  kind" — 
to  Georgie! 

•  .  .  A  red-cap  at  the  station,  when  he  arrived, 
leaped  for  his  bag,  abandoning  another  which  the 
Pullman  porter  had  handed  him.  "Yessuh,  Mist' 
Morgan.  Yessuh.  You'  car  waitin'  front  the  sta- 
tion fer  you.  Mist'  Morgan,  suh!" 

And  people  in  the  crowd  about  the  gates  turned  to 
stare,  as  he  passed  through,  whispering,  ''Ttuxfs 

Outside,  the  neat  chauffem*  stood  at  the  door  of 
the  touring-car  like  a  soldier  in  whip-cord. 


"I'll  not  go  home  now,  Haxry,"  said  Eugene,  when 
he  had  got  in.     "Drive  to  the  City  Hospital." 

"Yes,  sir,"  the  man  returned.  "Miss  Lucy's 
there.  She  said  she  expected  you'd  come  there 
before  you  went  home.'V 

"She  did?" 

"Yes,  sir." 

Eugene  stared.  "I  suppose  Mr.  Minafer  must  be 
pretty  bad,"  he  said. 

"Yes,  sir.  I  understand  he's  liable  to  get  well, 
though,  sir."  He  moved  his  lever  into  high  speed, 
and  the  car  went  through  the  heavy  traffic  like  some 
fast,  faithful  beast  that  knew  its  way  about,  and  knew 
its  master's  need  of  haste.  Eugene  did  not  speak 
again  until  they  reached  the  hospital. 

Fanny  met  him  in  the  upper  corridor,  and  took 
him  to  an  open  door. 

He  stopped  on  the  threshold,  startled;  for,  from 
the  waxen  face  on  the  pillow,  almost  it  seemed  the 
eyes  of  Isabel  herself  were  looking  at  him :  never  before 
had  the  resemblance  between  mother  and  son  been  so 
strong — and  Eugene  knew  that  now  he  had  once 
seen  it  thus  startlingly,  he  need  divest  himself  of  no 
bitterness  "to  be  kind"  to  Gebrgie. 

George  was  startled,  too.     He  lifted  a  white  hand 


in  a  queer  gesture,  haU  lorbiddii^,  half  iiiq>loriiig, 
and  then  let  his  arm  fall  back  upon  the  coverlet. 
''You  must  have  thought  my  motfa^  wanted  you  to 
eome/'he  said,  ''so  that  I  could  ask  you  to — ^to 
forgive  me/' 

But  Lucy,  who  sat  beside  him,  lifted  ineflabie  eyes 
from  him  to  her  father,  and  shook  her  head.  ^No, 
just  to  take  his  hand — gently!** 

She  was  radiant. 

But  for  Eugene  another  radiance  filled  the  room. 
He  knew  that  he  had  heat  true  at  last  to  his  true  feve, 
and  that  through  him  she  had  brought  her  boy  vnd^ 
shelter  again.    Her  eyes  would  look  wistful  no  num. 

THE  laiD 

Lambskin  Library 

New  titles  are  constantly  added  to  the  Lambskin  Library. 
CoHo  ilt  your  bookseller  for  a  complete  list.  The  price  and 
format  is  uniform  with  this  book. 

1  Adventures  in  Contentment      -----       David  Grayson 

2  Bob,  Son  of  Battle         ------  Alfred  OUivant 

3  Casuals  of  the  Sea    -------      William  McFee 

4  Cheerful  by  Request      -------      Edna  Ferber 

5  Dr*  ula-        -        -        -        -        -        -        --  Bram  Stoker 

6  Further  Side  of  Silence,  The  -----       Sir  Hugh  QifFord 

7  Gold         -        - Stewart  Edward  White 

8  Impressions  of  Theo.  Roosevelt     -        -        -  Lawrence  F.  Abbott 

9  Lord  Jim  ---------       Joseph  Conrad 

10  Magnificent  Ambersons,  The         -        -        -        -      Booth  Tarkington 

11  Mother    ---------     Kathleen  Norris 

12  Octopus,  The         -        -        -        -        -        -        --     Frank  Norris 

13  Pieces  of  Eight  ------     Richard  Le  Gallienne 

14  Pit,  The        ---------     Frank  Norris 

15  Riverman,  The         -        -        -      .-        -  -Stewart  Edward  White 
lo  Ruggles  of  Red  Gap      -----  Harry  Leon  Wilson 

17  Stamboul  Nights      -        -        -        -        -        -        -         H.  G.  Dwight 

18  Story  of  GostaBerling,  The  -        -        -        -        -  Selma  Lagerlof 

19  Story  of  My  Life,  The      ------  Helen  Keller 

20  Trimmed  Lamp,  The    -------  O.  Henry 

21  Up  From  Slavery      -----  Booker  T.  Washington 

22  Lorna  Doone,  Vol.  I-        -        -        -        -        -       R.D.  Blackmore 

23  Lorna  Doone,  Vol.  II        -        -        -        -        -  R.  D.  Blackmore 

24  Two  Years  Before  the  Mast  -----       Richard  H.  Dana 

25  Alice  in  Wonderland         ------  Lewis  CarroU 

26  Tale  of  Two  Cities,  A   -----        -         Charles  Dickens 

27  Three  Musketeers,  The,  Vol.  I  -        -        -        -  Alexandre  Dumas 

28  Three  Musketeers,  The,  Vol.  II     -        -        -        -      Alexandre  Dumas 

29  Autobiography  of  Benjamin  Franklin        .        .        -     Nathan  H.  Dole 

30  Tales  from  Shakespeare         -        -        -        -       Chas.  and  Mary  Lamb 

31  Romola    ---------  George  Eliot 

32  Ivanhoe        --------         Sir  Walter  Scott 

33  Black  Beauty  --------  Anna  Sewell 

34  Bunker  Bean         -------    Harry  Leon  Wilson 

35  Virginia^  ---------        Ellen  Glasgow 

36  A  Year  in  a  Yawl  -------     Russell  Doubleday 

37  The  Kentucky  Warbler    -----  James  Lane  Allen 

38  The  Haunted  Bookshop        -----  Christopher  Morley 

39  Ayesha     --------  H.  Rider  Haggard 

40  A  Journey  to  Nature J.  P.  Mowbray 

41  Fruitfulness      ---------     Emile  Zola 

42  Return  of  Sherlock  Holmes  -        -        -        -    Sir  Arthur  Conan  Doyle 

43  The  Blazed  Trail      -       -        •       -       -  Stewart  Edward  White 








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